The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said that the current turmoil surrounding the cross-channel travel disruption in Calais is having a serious economic impact on small businesses that import and export goods.
According to its research, 11 per cent of FSB members are affected by the crisis, and the number actually doubles to 21 per cent in the South East region. Nearly half of those affected (45 per cent) have said they are suffering due to the delays surrounding the importation of goods.
The FSB has written a formal letter to the European Commission in which it urged the Commission to protect UK small businesses. The FSB said businesses are being prevented from accessing the fundamental freedoms of internal markets in terms of importation and exportation.
The Federation called on the Commission to work with the French and British governments to secure these freedoms and to prevent further detriment to both UK and EU businesses.
Mike Cherry, Policy Director of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small businesses are being held to ransom as the delays caused by Operation Stack are having a damaging impact and resulting in a significant loss of trade and income. Many small firms not only in the South East, but increasingly the rest of the country, are spending valuable time and money trying to find viable alternatives to honour commitments to their customers, both at home and in continental Europe.
“The FSB welcomes all efforts now being made to find short and medium term measures to alleviate the situation… Small firms want to see these options worked up and swiftly implemented, as well as a plan for a long-term solution to solve this once and for all. The Government and French authorities must ensure they work together to bring a swift resolution to this issue,” he continued.