Small UK firms suffering

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    LONDON – New post-Brexit trade restrictions have pushed up the cost of parts and raw materials for two thirds of small British manufacturers surveyed last month, and a majority reported some level of disruption.

    The sur vey of nearly 300 firms, conducted by consultants South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS), adds to an existing picture of di s r upt ion f rom new customs checks that came into force on Jan. 1 for goods trade with the European Union.

    “Price hikes in the supply chain have been immediate, and we are hearing tales of lead times being extended on raw materials,” said Nick Golding, managing director of SWMAS.

    Some 65 percent of manufacturers reported higher costs, and 54 percent said they had greater difficulties exporting goods to the EU.

    Around a fifth of manufacturers thought they might gain from customers bringing work back to Britain from the EU.

    Britain’s government has said many of the difficulties are “teething troubles” and last week said it would make 20 million pounds ($27.7 million) available to help small firms get used to the new rules. Further restrictions are due to take effect later this year.