John Harris

Journalist & Author

Covid has damaged our small businesses. Now Brexit might finish them off | John Harris

Multinationals can just about cope with the new UK-EU trading rules, but independent businesses are mired in problems

If you had to design a scenario guaranteed to fatten up big business while squashing the rest of the economy, it would probably resemble what Britain is living through.

Thousands of independent businesses are shuttered up. Amazon and the big supermarkets, boosted by the suspension of anything other than “essential” retail but gleefully selling a huge range of stuff, have carved up consumer spending between them. And the economic impact of Covid-19 is now fusing with an issue that will endure even as lockdown restrictions are eventually eased: the dire effects of Brexit on smaller companies staring into the future with a mixture of fear and bafflement.

Related: Department stores are far more than just shops. Their loss leaves a hole in the heart | Polly Toynbee

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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