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Businesses bracing for impact as prospect of no-deal Brexit looms

PUBLISHED: 09:18 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 14 October 2019

How will industries react to a no deal? (L-)) Kit Papworth, Nick Taylor, Mark Kacary. Pictures: PA/Archant

How will industries react to a no deal? (L-)) Kit Papworth, Nick Taylor, Mark Kacary. Pictures: PA/Archant

PA/Archant

Bosses have shared their fears ahead of Brexit at the end of the month - as well as the plans they have in place to deal with any negative fallout.

Bosses have shared their fears ahead of Brexit at the end of the month - as well as the plans they have in place to deal with any negative fallout.

Norfolk industry leaders have been crying out for clarity on what trade will look like after the UK leaves the EU.

And with just under three weeks to go until deadline day on October 31, the likelihood of Britain leaving with a deal with the trade bloc remains in the balance.

One sector deemed to be particularly vulnerable is the farming community.

MORE: Brexit breakdown: How your household bills will change after October 31
Agriculture businesses are concerned that the government's latest no-deal tariff regime would see the British market flooded with cheaper food, produced at lower standards, which domestic farmers would not be able to compete against.

On top of this, many farms are concerned about the loss of EU subsidies which has kept activities improving in efficiency and yield.

Kit Papworth, an arable farmer based in North Walsham, said it is "absolutely vital" for his industry that the UK leaves with a deal.

"I have great faith in the Benn Act and the NFU, but politicians have their own agendas and UK farming will be devastated by World Trade tariffs," he said.

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"If it happened I can see the industry being forced to take serious and collective action, including blockades and protests."

He added that farming is "efficient and sustainable", but given the long-term nature of its business, it would be destroyed by an "overnight and political decision, based on political whims and rhetoric".

He added: "The message to government is simple. We have to have a trade deal with our European customers. Without it, many farm businesses and environmental schemes will be at risk."

Mark Kacary, managing director of the Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton, was similarly minded.

"The best deal available is to stay in the EU," he said. "To leave without a deal is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute, while hoping we can negotiate the use of one as we tumble through the air. By staying in the EU at least we know where we stand, but nobody really knows what will happen and how long it will be before the UK recovers. It must also be remembered that leaving on the October 31 is just the start, there will be many years of pain to follow. My message to the government is: Don't be so pig ignorant to leave without a deal."

Diss-based Midwich - a specialist audiovisual distributor - has said it is waiting to see what happens.

The business, which made a revenue of £573.7m in 2018, saw its continental Europe division grow by 42.2% last year.

Because it took in a revenue of £222m for the region, a Midwich Group spokesman said: "We have a diversified business across Europe and other global markets. Our operations buy locally and we source this through our diversified portfolio of businesses. We carry inventory to deal with any short-term disruption to the UK and we have planned for some time and have contingencies in place."

And Nick Taylor, chairman of the Norwich and District Association of Estate Agents, said that his industry will not being directly impacted.

"Leaving the EU will actually stimulate activity because people will know where they stand and want to move forward with their lives," he said. "We won't be seeing any price crash any time soon because house prices are supported by rising population, and all political parties are determined to increase our population regardless of whether we leave the EU or stay."

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