Boris Johnson news – live: Brexit ‘teething problems may be permanent’ as Starmer’s party ‘lacks authenticity’

Today’s daily politics briefing

What were hoped to be Brexit “teething problems are in danger of becoming permanent, systemic ones”, a group representing small businesses has warned.

With firms still grappling with new bureaucracy and costs three months after the transition period ended, the Federation of Small Businesses said that, of 132 exporters it has surveyed, more than one in four had temporarily suspended trade with the EU or ceased it permanently.

Meanwhile, Len McCluskey – general secretary of one of Labour’s largest financial backers, Unite the Union –has warned the party under Keir Starmer is suffering from a “lack of authenticity” and direction, writing in The Independent: “Focus groups show that at best his Labour Party is seen as dull, absent of convictions or presence, at worst opportunistic, only following the political wind after it has blown, rarely making the weather.”

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Brexit ‘teething problems may be permanent, systemic ones’, FSB chair warns

Following their survey of some 1,483 small businesses finding that 26 per cent of exporters had either temporarily suspended or permanently ceased trading with the EU since the Brexit transition period ended three months ago, Federation of Small Businesses chair Mike Cherry said:

“At a moment when small firms are doing all we can to return to growth and get our economy firing on all cylinders again, those that do business internationally are being hit with some incredibly demanding, unfamiliar paperwork.

“Three months on from the end of the transition period, what we hoped would prove to be teething problems are in danger of becoming permanent, systemic ones.

“While larger firms have the resources and bandwidth to overcome them regardless, smaller traders are struggling, and considering whether exports are worth the effort any more.

“Unless more is done to ease the admin burden on those that do business overseas, and increase access to markets outside the EU, it will weigh heavy on our efforts to recover from the most severe downturn on record.”

Andy Gregory29 March 2021 08:45


Voices: Voters can smell Labour’s identity confusion and lack of authenticity

Here’s the full piece by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, which warns that Labour under Keir Starmer is suffering from a “lack of authenticity” and direction, challenging the leader to “honour” left-wing pledges he committed to 12 months ago to offer a credible alternative to the Conservatives.

Andy Gregory29 March 2021 08:35


Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics.

Andy Gregory29 March 2021 08:21

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