Skip To The Main Content

FSB issues warning on UK-EU Brexit talks

Avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland must be a priority in Brexit negotiations, FSB has warned. 

“Small businesses in Northern Ireland must continue to have access to the workers and skills they need, including those who travel across the border for work every day,” warned Mike Cherry, FSB’s UK Chairman. “There must also be easy trade across the border, especially for goods which criss-cross it in the production process. This is in the interest of the UK economy as a whole.”

Wilfred Mitchell, FSB policy chair for Northern Ireland, added that there was still some way to go before agreement was reached with the EU around the border issue. “Businesses want some certainty as soon as possible, so we are pleased to see firm proposals as the negotiations move to the next stage, and where the Northern Ireland land border is firmly on the agenda,” he said. 

Mr Cherry also warned of the need for clarity around procedures to settle cross-border legal disputes in the wake of Brexit if trade is not to suffer. 

“Commercial business-to-business disputes that take place across borders with EU27 countries, such as on late payments, must have quick and easy remedies to shore up small business trading confidence,” he said. 

“Small businesses will need time to adapt to any new changes so clear and early communication will be essential once an agreement has been negotiated with the Commission. This will be necessary to avoid a dip in confidence, which might then be followed by a dip in levels of trade.”