The Rt Hon Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke MP, recently attended a roundtable discussion in Telford, hosted by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and its Chair Graham Wynn, and attended by business leaders across Shropshire and Herefordshire.

The meeting saw discussions centred around the Government plans for Brexit and the impact and challenges that businesses and their respective sectors will face.

Paul Hinkins, Chair of TBB, said: “It was very helpful to have everyone in the same room and collaboratively sharing their concerns, ideas and challenges facing their businesses and respective sectors come 11.00pm 29th March 2019.

“Many businesses within the region have accepted that we are leaving the European Union however the Marches annual exports are currently £1.77billion worth of goods and £1.34billion of this to the EU alone, there is concern and what this meeting allowed us to do was think positively and focus on the importance of having the right attitude to adopt to these changes particularly in the months to come.

“Skills is a big issue in terms of migration and ensuring that we continue to upskill individuals that not only meets their needs, but the needs of the business community in the future. What we do need to remember as a region that will be massively impacted by Brexit is that change will not happen overnight, and theimplementation process will be phased to ensure that businesses aren’t left high and dry.” Between the 29th March 2019 and December 31, 2020, there is expected to be some form of a transition period and free movement will continue throughout the transition period. The UK will be able to make its own trade deals, however, they will not come into force until January 1, 2021.

Most of the discussion focused around the impact to local businesses operating in key sectors such as agri-tech and advanced manufacturing, with reassurance provided by the Justice Secretary and insight provided from Lucy Allen MP for Telford.