Brexit is likely to affect all parts of our economy. This was brought home to me last week when I visited Express Asphalt in my constituency.
The plant makes asphalt to order for all kinds of projects, from road mending to driveways. I was impressed by the computerised system which can mix a truck-sized batch of many types of materials within a few minutes.
The process uses mostly local materials, including stone from quarries in Cheddar. Their customers are from the local area. So at least this business is Brexit-proof, right?
Unfortunately, it is not quite so straightforward. Some of the chemicals they use come from other EU countries. And spare parts for their machines are made in places like Italy. It seems even locally-focused companies are at risk from more border checks and barriers, which are a likely consequence of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
‘Just in time’ supply chains like asphalt and concrete rely on a steady flow of key materials and products from around the world. Delays could have knock-on effects for the construction industry and infrastructure – and that includes our ability to mend potholes.
Thank you to everyone at Express Asphalt and Aggregate Industries who made my visit so fascinating.
As we enter a critical phase of the process, I will keep speaking up for companies and individuals in Bristol West likely to be squeezed by Brexit. If we don’t get this right, reckless decisions made in Brussels and the UK parliament will affect our country for many years to come.