As the UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme gets underway and we at last have an end in sight to the pandemic gloom and restrictions I was hoping that I would also be talking here about a done deal in the post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU.
But guess what; a week after we were told it was the eleventh hour for negotiations, we still have an impasse between the two sides as negotiators appear to have hit a brick wall on the fundamentals of a level playing field, fishing, and resolving disputes in the future.
Even the government’s TV advertisement urging businesses to get ready for the end of the transition period on 31st January has had the slogan ‘check, change and go’ removed as they cannot say what we are checking, what needs changing and where we are going.
This uncertainty does nothing for business confidence whilst we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, facing a recession and having to find ways of plugging a cavernous national debt.
The Chambers feels this frustration, especially our hard-working international trade team who continue to work with Staffordshire businesses who trade with the EU and are looking for advice and guidance. You can be assured if you are an exporter that they will be there to guide businesses through the coming months whether there is a deal in place or not.
If you are not already in contact with the international trade team you can call them on 01782 202222 and visit the website for information and guidance on the transition period: https://staffordshirechambers.co.uk/transition-period/
Now for something which we do have the power to make a difference for the good.
We all know what a tough year it has been for charities who have been hard hit by the effects of the pandemic. They have been subject to charity shops, a major source of income, closing in lockdown, and in some cases permanently. Many volunteers have been unable to fundraise due to health concerns and donations have stalled as people worry about their own finances.
That is why we are raising money on behalf of our Chamber charity members so they can continue to provide vital support for our community.
Throughout December we will be putting the spotlight on one of our charities each day via our special Staffordshire Chambers Spotlight Charity Advent Calendar. And with 23 incredible organisations to share, this will lead us all the way up to Christmas Eve. Click here to discover who is behind the door today. https://bit.ly/33WtIh9
If you can, please consider donating to help support the amazing work they do. All money raised will be divided equally between the charities. Alternatively, you can donate to your chosen Chamber charity here: https://bit.ly/2JOz8UH
If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org