One-in-five firms that do business in the EU have stopped trading with the bloc since the end of the Brexit transition period, according to a new survey.
A new survey from the Institute of Directors (IoD) business group showed 20 per cent of its members who previously traded with the EU had stopped since 31 December, with the group “narrowly split between those who indicated they had stopped trading temporarily and those who reported it to be a permanent cessation”.
The survey of 900 of its members also revealed that more than three-in-four businesses that trade internationally were looking to pursue opportunities outside the EU due to Brexit.
The IoD is a business group that represents British entrepreneurs and business leaders.
The body’s head of policy Roger Barker said the findings should serve “as a call to action for government”.
“While still a minority, the hit to trade with our largest and nearest market needs to be addressed to ensure it does not become a permanent dent in our global ambitions,” he said.
“While it has recently taken remedial steps to help businesses adjust to life after Brexit, notably through the SME advice grants and internationalisation fund long called for by the IoD, engagement with the EU to smooth and enhance our new trading arrangements is urgently needed.”
It comes as the UK today decided to delay implementing new checks on EU imports to the UK for another six months to give businesses more time to prepare.
Physical checks on food and agricultural products coming into the UK from the bloc will now start in January instead of in July.
Health certificates will now be needed for these goods in October instead of next month.
Lord David Frost, the UK’s de-facto Brexit minister, said: “We will now introduce border controls broadly six months later than planned to give traders time to focus on getting back on their feet as the economy opens up after a difficult year.”