I really cannot allow Mr Smith to cry “scaremongering” about the readiness of business for Brexit when he has got his facts completely wrong and, disingenuously, tries to divert attention from the subject by citing other concerns of local businesses.

The British Chamber of Commerce survey to which I referred was undertaken on a sample of 1,500 businesses in July 2019 and the report was published at the beginning of September. The BCC’s risk assessment of readiness in the context of information available from Government as at mid-September indicates that there are only five factors out of 36 on which there is clarity as to what businesses need to do to prepare. Mr Smith dismisses the issue by saying that only(!) 12 per cent of businesses are involved in export to Europe but ignores the fact over 25 per cent of all non-financial service businesses in London import goods from Europe and that 54 per cent of all UK imports are sourced from EU countries.

While businesses in Redbridge and Waltham Forest do indeed have concerns about parking and rates, from the statistics and anecdotal evidence it is clear that they are just as unprepared for Brexit as businesses in the rest of the country. And critically, it is local residents that will be the ones to suffer. I and my colleagues are knocking on doors and time and again people are telling us that they know of young Europeans returning home, usually from jobs in the hospitality or care sectors, or that they are experiencing difficulties in obtaining medications as wholesalers start to stockpile. Only last week my wife had to contact six pharmacies before being supplied with a common medication but my thoughts are with those people who are less mobile or without help to locate and collect essential drugs.

All this even before Brexit takes place!

Dr Geoffrey M Seeff

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green

Parkland Road, Woodford Green