Council Leader comments on EU trade deal announcement

24 December 2020

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Councillor Louise Gittins, has expressed her relief at the announcement of a potential UK trade deal with the EU.

But in acknowledging the news, Cllr Gittins stressed that there is an urgent need for government to issue guidance on the details of the deal so that businesses and residents can make appropriate preparations. 

A provisional deal between the UK and EU was announced today (Thursday, 24 December), which will need to be voted on by Parliament in the coming days.

The council has been preparing for the UK’s exit from EU since 2018 when a cross-party group of councillors directed officers to explore the opportunities and challenges it presents.

Cheshire West and Chester is the home to several major businesses in the car making, chemical industry and farming sectors, and a number of small and medium sized companies, which rely on trade with the EU. The proposed deal should lessen some of the challenges to these businesses.

However, the council and its partners stress that businesses still need to make preparations and be ready for a new trading relationship as of Friday, 1 January, regardless of any deal that is agreed.

The council has teamed up with West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce to provide a package of support and advice for businesses over the festive period and into the new year.  Information can be found on the Chamber’s website and businesses do not need to be members to access it.

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Louise Gittins, said: “While details of the deal are still emerging, the fact we are now in the position that a trade deal with the EU is a relief, following a very long period of negotiations, political debate and uncertainty for residents and businesses.

“The consequences of ending the transition period without a deal in place could have had major consequences both for us as a borough and nationally. 

“Whatever people’s views are on Brexit, we have always taken the view that we should do all we can to help the borough prepare. The new deal is still subject to parliamentary approval and there is a lot of detail to be digested over the coming days. Businesses who trade with the EU or have suppliers in the EU will still need to adapt, even with this deal in place. To prepare for this, we are working closely with the chamber of commerce and our Local Enterprise Partnership to ensure businesses have access to information. This support will increase in the coming days and weeks.”

Debbie Bryce, who is the Chamber's Chief Executive said: “With the end of the Brexit Transition Period fast approaching, even with a new deal, it is more important than ever that businesses in Cheshire West and Chester are preparing for the changes that are coming in the new year. Regardless of a trade deal with the EU or not, there are significant changes that firms need to be planning for ahead of January 1, 2021. There is still time to make preparations for this, and I’d strongly urge businesses to consider how these changes may impact their organisation."
 
Anyone who would like more information can get in touch with our the Chamber's International Trade Team at internationaltrade@wcnwchamber.org.uk or register your interest to receive support at:

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