'Relief' for businesses as UK and EU come to Brexit deal
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Norfolk businesses and consumers will head into 2021 with more confidence after the UK successfully struck a trade deal with the European Union.
The post-Brexit deal was secured on Christmas Eve after months of frantic negotiations.
Boris Johnson said: “This deal means certainty – certainty for the aviation industry, and the hauliers, certainty for the police and border forces, security services and all those we rely on across Europe to keep us all safe.”
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It will come as a relief to businesses that a deal has been agreed.
"Businesses have been waiting for the details of the deal for many months and as full details of the deal are released, we will work to make sure that the information and support they need is in place in time for 1 January.
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“We have urged businesses to take time to plan and identify what actions they need to take and while that is difficult for many in these extremely challenging times, there will still be some significant changes from 1 January.”
He was echoed by Ed Savory, partner at Norwich-based law firm Birketts, who said: "This deal offers a much needed degree of certainty of what the post-Brexit world will look like and continuing to be part of a free trade zone with the EU mist be a huge relief for many businesses in the region.
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"Of course, the devil is in the detail but this is a positive moment which should provide a springboard to drive the economy forward.
"As a firm we have continued to be very busy all the way up to Christmas and there appears to be no sign of demand waning for our services across all divisions. The agility of businesses in the region to adapt is remarkable."
The news has been welcomed by the region's agriculture sector.
NFU East Anglia regional director, Gary Ford said: “The EU is our largest trading partner and we have been clear throughout negotiations that maintaining tariff-free access to the EU market is absolutely crucial for our food and farming industry, not only for farmers’ businesses and livelihoods, but for our ability to continue to provide a secure supply of quality, home-grown food for the nation."
James Shipp, partner at Norwich accountancy firm Lovewell Blake, said: “It’s important to point out that the deal allows for tariff and quota free trade in goods, which has been a significant concern for local exporters, but not in services, a sector which is very important for the UK economy.
“Even with this deal, there are going to be many changes for businesses which trade with the EU. As we digest the details of this deal over the coming days, we will at least have some clarity on many issues, which is very welcome, even at this late stage."