A LAW firm’s project leader has serious concerns about the British economy following Brexit and the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Although it was celebrated by many in the Conservative Party, head of Cumbria Law Centre Pete Moran has concerns about what the trade deal means for small businesses.

Speaking of the trade deal brokered between PM Boris Johnson and the EU, Mr Moran said: “We are very concerned that the effects of the Brexit deal seem to bring many potential complications for commerce but, in the short term at least, no tangible help for businesses. We worry that small businesses in particular will struggle with extra administrative burdens involved in both the procurement and sale of goods.”

He said: “So far, most business leaders seem to suggest that ‘red tape’ is significantly worse for not being part of the Single Market or the various European Institutions that provided harmony and smoothness of trade, freight and transactions.

“Added to the terrible effects of Covid-19 and the ensuing restrictions, this is a very serious set of circumstances for small businesses to try and negotiate.”

The Carlisle law centre has seen a high number of calls for advice from individuals due to the upheaval of Covid-19. Mr Moran said: “We were also very worried last week to hear Daniel Hannan, Conservative Peer and Brexit architect, advocating the scrapping of swathes of legislation that currently protect, among many other things, employment rights, environmental and health protections.”

He added that it could mean discarding “the protections that agency workers currently enjoy. This applies to many of the people who use our service. We have seen a great many people in recent years forced to move from being full-time employees to become agency workers of self-employed contractors. The last thing they need is to be stripped of further protections during these difficult times.”

Mr Moran expects more calls for legal help: “The centre has seen very high demand for help with employment matters over the last year and, sadly, we expect this to become worse in the months ahead.

“We have recently secured some funding to help us bolster our service and will be looking to recruit a further employment lawyer very soon. As ever, we focus our resources on those who cannot afford help from private practices. But sadly, we are not able to meet all the demand that comes to our door, though we do our best to help everyone as much as we can.”