People's Vote 'backed by more than 40 Derbyshire businesses'

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The owners of more than 40 Derbyshire-based small businesses have written to their MPs to demand a public vote on Brexit, according to the People’s Vote campaign.

The People’s Vote group is calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the UK and EU.

As it stands, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 but Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to get her deal through Parliament. MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject her deal last month.

Andy Baker, general manager of Stargates UK, in Pinxton, which supplies aluminium gates, says he is worried about the impact Brexit could have on his company’s supply lines.

Mr Baker, who has written to his MP, Nigel Mills, to demand a People’s Vote, said: “We are a small business and rely on the ability to easily import much of our stock from Portugal.

“Brexit has also already had an effect. Political uncertainty means people are reluctant to spend money. We have upwards of £200,000 worth of potential orders waiting but customers are now reluctant to commit.

“On top of this, the drop in the value of the pound has lowered profit margins by between 20 to 30 per cent. As a result. we’ve had to put up prices to remain competitive.”

He added: “We had been growing over the last few years, and at one point were projecting income to go up by 60%, but now due to ongoing political chaos, the point may come when we have to look at reducing staff numbers.”

Emma Harpham, the owner of Middle Earth Garden Design and Services, based in Derby, says Brexit has already hit her business:

“Prices of plants, which are mainly imported from Holland, have already gone up noticeably,” she said. “From my own experience and through talking to suppliers within the trade, I have seen a clear increase in costs. My sector has been hard hit.”

She added: “As people start to tighten their belts, it’s the ‘nice to have’s that will be hit first - gardeners, landscapers, cleaners, ironing services.

“I am a hard-working self-employed mother and it will break my heart if I lose my business as a result of Brexit.

“We are a great nation and working with Europe makes us great together. We need a way to end this mess, and I believe a People’s Vote is the best way to safeguard my business’s future.”