A SHOPOWNER in the Highlands has said his business is being “screwed whatever way we turn” as costs rise thanks to Brexit.

Iain Duncan, who operates the family-run Bothan Ceol shop in Dingwall, Ross-shire, slammed Brexit as something Scots didn’t vote for but are nevertheless paying the price for – including his shop.

Before Brexit, Duncan would avoid UK surcharges on deliveries to areas deemed outside the mainland, saving hundreds of pounds each month.

With the UK out of the European Union’s single market, Duncan is forced to pay surcharges on many of his orders.

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The business sells a variety of products, including teas, CBD and essential oils.

Duncan said: “Our tea used to take three to four days to arrive from Germany. But now our last delivery took 23 days.

“So that becomes an issue if we run out of something. I have a couple of kilos or different types of tea, and I’ve got 57 types of tea in stock right now.

“If I had run out of one normally I would just put a reorder again and I’d get it back in two or three, maybe four days.

“Now, I wait three or four weeks for it. And my customers before, they knew that if I didn’t have the tea, I’ve had cover by the end of the week.

“But now, chances are they’ll get it online from somewhere else.”

As well as delays to products getting delivered to the shop, Duncan said the surcharges he used to be able to get around are just a part of post-Brexit business in Britain.

In trying to Brexit and Covid-proof the business, Duncan opened up a laser removal firm, but even that showed the damaging impact of Brexit, with the laser machine seeing surcharges for delivery.

“We bought it from a company in England, but then we got an email after we bought and paid for it wanting another £100 pallet charge to get it up here, because we weren’t mainland – allegedly,” he said.

“I ended up getting exactly the same chair from Spain delivered for £30 and £100 cheaper to start with.

“That happens across the board. Anything I want I used to buy, like our incense sticks, direct from Europe, but because they will post to the UK – it doesn’t matter where we are in the UK.

“I can get two kilogrammes of loose hemp from Lithuania. And I can get five kilos of that stuff delivered for a fiver you know, and if I want to buy that in England, it’s 20 quid before we even start. So, the whole Brexit thing is tying in with the excessive surcharges.

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“And we see this all the time. We’ll get emails from them for free delivery to UK mainland and the minute you put in your postcode, you get a £15 charge and there’s no arguing with them.”

Duncan said before Brexit he could go with a European supplier and get his product delivered for “pennies” but Brexit has meant European companies are now charging far higher delivery charges to the UK.

He continued: “Without Scottish independence, it won’t be resolved. And it’s the way that Scotland has had no thought at all – like it just doesn’t matter. We’re getting screwed whatever way we turn. We’ll end up having to pick up the pieces as well.”

This article is part of The National’s series on how Scottish businesses have been affected by Brexit. If you run a business that’s been impacted by the UK leaving the EU, let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Get in touch at www.thenational.scot/my/ccn/assignment/csaxV6fx