With attention diverted by the all-encompassing trauma that is Covid-19 it has been easy to forget that, prior to the spring of 2020, Brexit was the biggest challenge facing most UK companies.
Now, just months before the transition period of the UK’s departure from the EU ends on 31 December, businesses still don’t know what shape Britain’s future relationship with its nearest neighbours will take.
Have they been able to make any preparations for Brexit, or has dealing with the pandemic taken all their time and energy?
Shoe brand Joseph Cheaney imports nearly all its raw materials, particularly leather, from the EU. “The tanneries are based in France, Italy, Germany. They make the best calf leather in the world and that’s where we buy it from,” explains joint managing director William Church.
He is hoping that tariff-free imports of these materials will still be possible next year and that any delays from customs checks will be minimal. Stockpiling large quantities of materials in case of supply issues isn’t practical and the company won’t be repeating the efforts it made on previous occasions when a ‘cliff-edge’ Brexit looked likely.