'Great day for Lincolnshire': MPs' vote on new Brexit bill welcomed

Lincolnshire Count Council's executive councillor for economy has welcomed the news MPs have overwhelmingly approved the UK's post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Coun Colin Davie - 'Great day for Lincolnshire'.

A bill bringing the deal into UK law cleared its first hurdle on Wednesday by 521 to 73 votes - meaning the UK severed its ties with the EU at 23.00 BST on Friday.

It was a particular historic day for the Skegness area as historic East Lindsey posted figures of more than 70%. in favour of leaving the EU in June 2016 - some of the highest in the country next to Boston.

Coun Colin Davie - LCC's executive councillor for economy and place who lives in Orby and is an Ingoldmells parish councillor, said the Brexit deal would benefit Lincolnshire for decades.

Skegness High Street on the day the Brexit deal was announced.

"It is a great day for our county that after decades of arguments the question of the EU has been settled and that, as promised, the Conservatives have delivered Brexit with a free trade deal that will benefit our county for decades ahead," he said.

"I am extremely optimistic that the Brexit deal, along with the news that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use accelerating the roll out, we can enter 2021 in the knowledge that we can make Lincolnshire a vital part of global Lincolnshire."

There would be victims of the global pandemic, including empty shops in the high street, he warned.

However, there was already much to be hopeful about. "We will survive and come back even stronger," he said.

"It may be there is a late start to the season as a result of the pandemic and businesses need to prepare for that.

"But when we can welcome visitors again we will be ready.

"Lincolnshire County Council is delivering on its promise by investing in the coast, including a beach cafe at Huttoft, the expansion of the business park in Skegness and the continuing works to improve Roman Bank,

"It now needs everyone to play their part."

Paul Dixon Chair of Skegness Area Business Chamber, said the news about the Brexit deal presented businesses with an additional challenge to a town dealing with the 'crushing blow' of being entered into further restrictions.

"The announcement was a considerable shock as the figures for our area have been falling - a testament I am sure to the effective distancing that we are seeing across all of our businesses and the good sense of our residents," he said. "But here we are so what to do?

"Businesses need more support if they are to survive this latest challenge. We have seen the big retailers topple and I am sure that many of the small ones are clinging on due only to their quick action to adapt.

"Can they hold on long enough is the question?

"For the hospitality sector, more help will be needed from government. The self employed and small business need help now not in a month's time when the chance of recovery and bounce back will be even tougher.

"With Brexit, too, as a additional challenge we need to be able to make the best economy that we can for our town, that is not possible if we have lost viable businesses.

"Our plea is for local people to support your local business whenever they can. We need to stay safe and keep to the rules so that we can get through this and come out the other side."

Katrina Pierce, Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Lincolnshire said the deal finally gave "some much-needed clarity and certainty".

“This deal is primarily about the sale and movement of goods in and out of the UK, so for any Lincolnshire businesses who rely on importing or exporting, or are part of a supply chain that deals directly with Europe, this finally gives some much-needed clarity and certainty," she said.

“The fact we have got to a stage where we know we face zero tariffs and quotas on goods is great news as it should stabilise the costs of trading with the continent.

"However, there is now increased paperwork that needs to be completed at each end of the trade which is extra burden on already stressed businesses. There are also warnings of ‘hiccups’ in the new year on the flow of goods in and out of the country, so businesses may face delays and stock issues within days.

“The work of looking through the detail of the agreement to map out exactly what it means for the small firms that make-up 99% of our business community now begins.

"The deal is 1200 pages long and the detail is extends to over 2000 pages so there’s a lot to delve into, but overall it seems this hugely divisive and disruptive issue is finally settled at Government level but make no mistake, there is work ahead for small businesses.

“What we need from hereon is tangible, targeted support, including £3,000 transition vouchers that small firms can spend on the training and advice required to navigate a new trading relationship with our biggest export market.”

BRIEF OUTLINE OF WHAT THE DEAL SAYS:

- No taxes on goods (tariffs) or limits on the amount that can be traded (quotas) between the UK and the EU from January 1

- Some new checks will be introduced at borders, such as safety checks and customs declarations.

- There are some new restrictions on certain UK animal food products. For example, uncooked meats like sausages and burgers can't enter the EU unless they are frozen to -18C.