Susan van de Ven

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon Learn more

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Does Government actually talk to local business?

by Susan van de Ven on 6 June, 2017

So who in Government actually talks to South Cambridgeshire employers to find out how they are being impacted by Brexit?

I put the question to the Managing Director of a Shepreth company. She told me that Grant Instruments employs about 65 people – many of them living locally. Much of what they make is for export and now travels freely. The end of the Single Market and Customs Union means that the company will have to hold and warehouse stock for distribution – this will be costly and halt the free flow of goods.

Since the EU Referendum, Grant Instruments has been hit by currency volatility – the fall in the pound has hurt their European-based subsidiary, as well as their trade with the Far East. Their pension deficit has risen by 50%. Even before it’s started Brexit doesn’t seem to be helping Grant Instruments.

Surely Government must be concerned about the state of local businesses like this one – for the jobs they provide and their contribution to the economy for the benefit of all.

I asked, and was told,

“With all due respect, politicians don’t ask for our views.”

However, in early April they received an invitation from David Curry MP to represent the Manufacturing and Services sector in the Parliamentary Review 2017. This sounded interesting. The company followed up the fine print, only to find that a fee of £2500 was required to participate. This would also allow entry to a gala reception.

This has been their only approach from a member of Parliament to seek their views. They decided to give it a miss.

Who from the next Government will come talk to the likes of Grant Instruments before working out the detail of our Brexit deal?

Grant Instruments is determined to keep going, and keep doing their best. But already Itheir capacity to contribute to the South Cambs and British economy is diminished.

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