By Daniel Hunter

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is growing ever more concerned about the growing economic impact being caused by cross-channel transport disruption and Operation Stack.

New FSB research shows the true extent of the impact, with increasing frustration and concern being felt by its membership. This shows it is a national issue with 11% of our members being affected, but this number nearly doubles to 21% in the South East region. Nearly half 45% of those affected say they are suffering from delays to the import of goods/supplies.

The FSB has raised the issue to the attention of the European Commission by sending a formal letter and seeking help to protect the livelihood of UK and EU small firms. UK businesses’ are being prevented from accessing the fundamental freedoms of the internal market with respect to imports, exports, access of the internal market, freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services. The FSB has called on the European 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.”