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News Laptop plea


THE Holmesdale School has ap- pealed for any spare or unwanted laptops.


The Snodland school needs de- vices such as iPads, tablets and laptops in good working order, so that students can access their on- line learning at home during lock- down.


The school wrote on Facebook:


“We have received an allocation from the government, but this does not stretch to all of our stu- dents who are in need.” Anyone who can help is asked to email the school at office@holmesdale.kent.sch.uk.


Woods fenced LANDOWNERS in Leeds village


have tried to stop locals using a small plot of woodland by erect- ing a 2m high steel fence. Residents complained after a smaller fence was put up to pre- vent them entering the woods as they have done for many decades. The latest action came after the first fence was vandalised to allow access to the woods, which adjoin the playing fields. The land is owned by the Rochester Bridge Trust.


downsmail.co.uk


Brexit red tape ‘hitting small businesses hard’


A SUCCESSFUL Maidstone small business is among thou- sands across Britain and Europe facing serious damage because of major Customs import and ex- port delays for shipment of both products and materials. Brendan Walton, pictured, is managing director of family busi- ness BJW Computers Ltd, based at The Old Stables, Lidsing Road, Maidstone. It specialises in selling and manufacturing printer inks and has 400 products.


He said: “The delays are now horrendous – a major threat to businesses. The customs red tape since Brexit is crippling small businesses due both to massive delays and costs.


“I know of some who say they


may close down for two months while this mess is sorted. I em- ploy 12 people and I fear we may have to furlough them.” Journeys which took three/four


days have now stretched to 14 days or more, due largely to slow customs


clearances warehouses. at Some are full up


and can take no more, with HGV trailers used for storage. It seems customs do not have enough agents.


Major businesses like super- markets have their own vehicles


and get through the system more quickly, but most small busi- nesses use Groupage transport who build up pallets from many firms to make up HGV loads for shipping. These go all over Eu- rope, where similar problems exist.


British


“Government talks of teething problems,” added Brendan. “If so, they had better sort them very quickly because it is leaving so many of us teethless as some Eu- ropean customers cancel orders.” Costs have escalated too. Every invoice involves a customs extra charge of at least £75 plus VAT, more per line for longer invoices. He addded: “This is a new sub- stantial cost businesses are ex- pected to bear at an already difficult time. “One way or another many small businesses are really being crippled and several have already stopped trading.”


p20 6


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