Ealing small businesses in ‘terrible trouble’ after Brexit changes

Small businesses in Ealing have expressed concern regarding the impact of the Brexit deal.

A hair and beauty salon and party decor shop have said the deal will cause delays to receiving products from countries in the EU.

Boris Johnson secured a trade deal with the EU seven days before the end to the ‘transition period’ on the 31 December.

Agnès Gaudron, owner of Agnès Organic Hair & Beauty Salon, said: “I never thought Brexit would impact my salon because I thought we’d have a good deal.”

Gaudron, 40, said: “The whole hairdressing side of the business relies on the two French suppliers.

“To import things, we now have to do so many forms, applications and authorisation.

“If I’m doing all of the paperwork, then I’m not working as a beautician.”

The salon relies on bespoke and organic hair dyes that are only available in France and Gaudron bought four months of supply of the French hair dyes in December due to the uncertainty regarding the trade deal

She also expressed concern regarding changes in VAT rules introduced by the UK Government on 1 January, which state VAT is to be collected at the point of sale rather than at the point of importation.

This has caused anger among some companies who now face increased costs and bureaucracy.

Gaudron said: “There is a lack of understanding from every part which puts us in terrible trouble.

“When you see the amount of administration, it’s just insane.”

The beauty therapist predicts there will be delays in receiving products from EU countries as well as higher costs.

She added: “I hope they will realise how badly small businesses are affected and they will do something more simple.”

The salon is currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Britta Bucholz, 39, owns Tara’s Wonderland, an online balloon and party decor shop.

Approximately 50% of their orders are international, with 10-15% exported to countries within the EU and one of the suppliers to the online shop is based in Poland.

Bucholz said: “The main problem is the uncertainty, especially because the trade agreement was very rushed in the end.

“A lot of things are uncertain for us and also for our suppliers.

“This is the first time that there are big interruptions.

“I placed an order before December – because we still didn’t know if there was going to be a hard Brexit or not – and that order still hasn’t arrived and I have no idea when it is going to arrive.”

The business is still shipping orders to countries within the EU.

The owner also expressed confusion regarding new VAT regulation.

She said: “Our suppliers have said they will keep the same costs for sending it to us but I am not sure if that will be the same in a few months.

“Our business has grown a lot during the pandemic because people want to make nice party decorations at home for their events.”

Despite this, the owner hopes the government offers small businesses with more support.

She said: “Initially there will be a lot of disruption and there will be a lot of things that won’t work.

“Hopefully overtime they will get a better grip on these things.”

Hillingdon Times | News