“We have a diverse economy in the South East with major employers and high tech global businesses, as well as entrepreneurs and small businesses. All are important and all are dependent on a strong infrastructure whether transport or rural broadband. I believe there is also a vital need for access to finance for new businesses and those wishing to scale up.”

“UK skills and ambition mean that new businesses will always, should always, rise and challenge established companies. Well-established small businesses and traders form the backbone of our local economies in the South East. My priority in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is to ensure that they have access to the funding they need, and in particular long-term capital and advice.”

“Our nearest trading partners will always remain, geographically, Europe. In the past we have not exported nearly as much to Europe as Germany to the rest of the EU and I see no reason why we should not.  In 2017 Germany exported 750 billion Euros of trade to other EU states, approximately 400% times the UK exports to Europe that year (186 billion Euros). Whilst we remain in the top 10 countries for trade within the Union our growth in trade with other EU countries is the lowest of all member states. As a nation, we are inventive, ingenious and we work hard. Our businesses are great. Whatever the future brings we should aim to have ambitious trading partnerships with our nearest neighbours.”

“In 2018 small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector business. This rises to 99.9% when you include medium sized as well, which are the companies that hire 249 employees and under. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) indicates that total employment in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK was over 16million people in 2018 which accounted for 60% of all private sector employment in the UK and a turn-over of £2trillion, which is around 50% of private sector turnover.”

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What is the effect of Brexit on your business in the South East? Questionnaire coming soon – have your say!