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FSB debate considers Brexit impact

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Politicians, business groups, and academics from the East of England have debated the consequences of Brexit for small businesses. 

An event organised by the Federation of Small Businesses in Norwich examined how the UK’s departure from the EU might affect small firms in areas such as trade, skills, and funding. 

The panel included Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, East of England MEP Alex Mayer, FSB Policy Director Martin McTague, National Farmers Union Norfolk Chair Tony Bambridge, and Professor Hussein Kassim of the University of East Anglia. The debate was chaired by BBC East Political Correspondent Andrew Sinclair.

Throughout the debate, members of the audience were given plenty of opportunities to outline their priorities and concerns about Brexit, and to ask questions of the panel. 

While the two politicians on the panel discussed their parties’ policy platforms for the post-Brexit period, Martin McTague outlined some of the key findings from FSB’s recent Brexit research reports. 

Tony Bambridge described the challenges that continued uncertainty about the long-term EU-UK relationship presented for farmers. Meanwhile, Professor Hussein Kassim analysed events from the perspective of the European Union, saying that the continued unity of the 27 member states had surprised many observers. 

Half of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind mental health charity. 

The debate was supported by the University of East Anglia and Future50.