Itâs now official that Prime Minister Theresa May has set the wheels in motion for the UK leaving the EU, after finally triggering Article 50 just over nine months after the majority of the British public voted to leave during the EU Referendum. Now, as we enter a period of time where the only things that is certain is uncertainty, the Builders Merchantsâ Federation (BMF) has had its say on what the best outcome of Brexit would be for the industry.
Everybody wants to know what kind of deal the UK will now strike with the EU, or if there will be a deal at all, but the BMF are urging Theresa May and David Davis to negotiate a mutually-beneficial new customs agreement based on zero or low tariffs. The main concern for the BMF is that if the UK leaves without a free trade agreement then it will be damaging for business confidence and any planned investments, and therefore there will be extreme consequences for the building materialsâ supply chain.
John Newcomb, the Managing Director of the BMF, has commented, Builders merchants already face significant material price rises due to currency fluctuations and worry that proper consideration is not being given to other obstacles that hamper trade. Ministers ought to be looking at whether HMRC and other agencies have sufficient resources to deal with millions more customs declarations that will be necessary.
Newcomb also believes that if border inspections at ports are not properly resourced, then consignments will be stuck on the quayside causing unnecessary backlogs and delays in fulfilling customer orders.
It is still unclear as to whether there will be any agreement between the UK and the EU and it may be some time before we find out, but the industry must think ahead to the possibility of a no deal!