UK Hospitality has called for more clarity on how the immigration system and taxes will work post-Brexit, as the UK’s departure from the European Union draws closer.
With just under nine months to go, the forum for hospitality and tourism businesses urged the government to set out more detail on a range of issues including immigration, taxes and tariffs in order to avoid a rise in costs for businesses.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The government has made some valuable progress in ensuring that the sector has some clarity, particularly around the issue of employment. Employers and EU citizens now understand the process by which they will be able to apply for settled status and reassurances that the process will be affordable.
“We still need to see some more clarity on wider issues, particularly a future immigration system that gives the sector access to the talent it needs. We are also looking for some much-needed information on future taxes, tariffs, and customs and regulations procedures that will need to be put in place and reassurances that future trade will be smooth and avoid increasing costs for businesses.”
Nicholls’ comments came after the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) published two dozen “real-world” questions being asked by businesses around the UK about Brexit.
It claimed the government had made “limited progress” on two of the 24 issues and warned that uncertainty following June’s European Council summit was causing a “significant slowdown in business investment”.
It said that while the government had made some progress on the assurances on the status of EU nationals in the UK workforce and on the industrial standards regime, other ket issues remained unclear.
- on tax, whether a business will need to pay VAT on goods at point of import;
- on tariffs, what Rules of Origin firms will have to comply with to receive preferential tariff rates;
- on customs, whether goods will be subject to new procedures, and delayed at border checkpoints;
- on mobility, whether businesses will be able to transfer staff between the EU and the UK using the same processes as currently.
Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Over the past two years, businesses have been patient. We have supported the government’s drive to seek the best possible deal for the UK economy. We have given time, expertise and real-world experience to support hard-pressed civil service negotiators. We have convened all across the UK to ensure that every business community’s Brexit concerns can be heard by elected representatives and officials.
“Now, with the time running out ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU, business patience is reaching breaking point.
“Businesses have every right to speak out when it is abundantly clear that the practical questions affecting the competitiveness of their firms and the livelihoods of millions of people remain unanswered. With less than nine months go to until Brexit day, we are little closer to the answers businesses need than we were the day after the referendum.”
A UK government spokesperson said: “We’re confident of getting a good deal with the EU to ensure trade remains as free and frictionless as possible.
“Ministers continue to work closely with business to understand their concerns, and by successfully negotiating the implementation period with the EU until December 2020, companies can carry on trading with confidence on the same terms as they do now.
“We have put forward workable proposals to the EU on a range of areas from the backstop to security – and the White Paper, which will be published shortly, will continue to drive this process forward.”
The UK is set to leave the European Union at 11pm on 29 March 2019.