Brexit latest: Boris told to act as industry boss laments ‘damage done to our economy’

One third of North-east businesses hurt by Brexit says expert

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Boris Johnson has been written to by the chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce which begged him to save the region from the “damage being done to our economy” by Brexit. James Ramsbotham has since told the Guardian newspaper that the plea has gone unanswered for weeks amid concerns over a shortage of lorry drivers and chaos at the border with customs delaying goods.

“This is not teething problems,” Mr Ramsbotham told the Guardian.

Our ports face the EU and our region has the highest proportion of any exporting to the EU.

“It is vital that more barriers come down.”

It comes as the business leader wrote to the Prime Minister and urged Mr Johnson to give the economic issues his “most urgent and personal attention.”

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Mr Ramsbotham said: “Exports are vital to the national economy.

“They are our national income. Damaging the ability of businesses who create wealth for our nation will make this country so much poorer.

“To do so when we are striving to recover from the pandemic, with all of its resulting debt, will burden this nation for decades.

“We encourage the Prime Minister to give this issue his most urgent and personal attention.”

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“The real issue is the complete lack of strategic planning.

“From our perspective, there has been none whatsoever.”

It comes a week on from the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) warning the gaps have already begun to appear in the supply chains serving Britain’s supermarkets.

Richard Burnett told Sky News that a perfect storm of coronavirus and Brexit has contributed to the driver shortage reaching 100,000.

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Mr Burnett told Sky News: “We are talking about 100,000 drivers shortage.

“I mean before the pandemic we had a shortage of about 60,000.

“This has been the perfect storm, Covid, Brexit together has meant we have lost EU drivers back to the EU.”

He added: “So that has exacerbated the problem and this is on crisis proportions within this industry.”

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