19 APR 2018

How we can be better off after Brexit

There are many good reasons why we are leaving the European Union. And why Dover and Deal – and the nation as a whole – will be better off for it.

We will be taking back control of our money, our laws and our borders. We can put an end to uncontrolled EU immigration – and strike free trade deals across the globe. Yet there are so many more benefits of Brexit.

Take the case of David Wilsher, from Kingsdown. Because of EU rules, he could be put out of business.

David runs a firm called Mission Cycles, based in Maidstone. They sell tricycles which are imported from China and Taiwan. Because these products are specially designed for disabled people, David should be exempt from paying any import duty. Yet Mission Cycles has been hit with an £85,000 tariff bill.

I urged HMRC to put this right. Finally they agreed to reduce the bill by £25,000 and arranged to visit Mission Cycles to discuss the remaining sum. Yet a week before the visit HMRC cancelled, saying Brussels bureaucrats "would not accept any variation of Customs assessments resulting from non-statutory process."

In other words, because we are bound by EU rules, HMRC cannot cut the £85,000 bill. This means David will have to seek a tribunal ruling to overturn the charge, which he says is "a gamble that could cost more than the debt they are asking for".

I'm taking this up with HMRC again to see what can be done. Yet this case shows once more the sort of red tape which is holding British businesses back. And it shows why leaving the EU customs union is the right thing to do. It means we will honour the referendum result, set our own rules and sign trade deals with the rest of the world.

Another great benefit of Brexit is that we will at last be able to ban live animal exports. We've had to put up with this wicked trade at ports like Dover because of EU law. Everyone remembers the protests on Townwall Street and the horrible sight of lorries packed full of sheep.

The live export trade continues to this day at Ramsgate. I've been making the case in Parliament to Environment Secretary Michael Gove that we must put a stop to it as soon as we leave the EU. And now he has confirmed he is considering a ban – to help the UK become a world leader in animal welfare.

Of course, leaving the EU will present challenges. That's why I've been setting out in detail how we can be ready on day one for every eventuality – particularly at the Dover frontline.

There is still much work to be done. Yet once we take back control it's clear we can be better off after Brexit.

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Charlie Elphicke

Here you can read about local news matters and what I've been up to. You can make comments too. I'd welcome your feedback, so please do feel free to comment!

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