Ministers propose imposing post-Brexit customs controls on goods coming from the EU over fears that additional bureaucracy would cause food shortages over Christmas and knock down businesses as they try to recover from the coronavirus crisis
- Ministers today announced further delays in introducing customs controls
- From October, there were new controls on goods coming from the EU to the UK
- Now to be phased in in 2022 as ministers try to avoid further disruptions
Ministers today announced a further delay in introducing full post-Brexit import controls on goods coming to the UK from the EU as they try to avoid border chaos.
Lord Frost, the cabinet minister, said full import controls will now be phased in in 2022 to give businesses more time to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
The UK would introduce a new wave of border rules for imports of animal origin and certain foods from next month.
There were fears that the extra paperwork would hit businesses as they try to get back on their feet and fears that the red tape combined with the ongoing shortage of truck drivers would disrupt the food supply chain over the Christmas period.
Business leaders welcomed the “sensible” decision but warned they want “certainty” from ministers about how the new regime will work and assurances that the rollout will go smoothly.
Ministers today announced a further delay in the implementation of full post-Brexit import controls on goods coming from the EU to the UK. The Port of Dover is pictured in April this year
Cabinet minister Lord Frost said full import controls will now be phased in in 2022 to give businesses more time to recover from the coronavirus crisis
The decision to postpone the introduction of the checks will give companies more time to adapt to the post-Brexit regulations.
It will also give the government more time to set up new systems, while also reducing the risk of compounding problems with border disturbances.
The EU has fully imposed its post-Brexit controls on imports from the UK from January, but Britain has opted for a gradual shift to the new rules for goods coming from the continent.
Today’s announcement marks the second time the government has postponed introducing more controls, after making a similar decision in March this year.
As previously announced, full customs declarations and checks will be introduced from January, but safety and security declarations are now only required in July.
Lord Frost said: ‘We want companies to focus on their recovery from the pandemic rather than having to deal with new requirements at the border. That is why we have drawn up a pragmatic new timetable for the introduction of full border controls.
“Companies now have more time to prepare for these controls, which will be phased in over the course of 2022.
“The government remains on track to deliver the new systems, infrastructure and resources needed.”
William Bain, head of trade policy at the UK Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Announcing this slowdown is sensible given the ongoing difficulties in ensuring merchant preparedness, the need to build more border checkpoints and the skills shortage crisis. .
“Food checks would come in at the time of year with the lowest imports from the EU.
‘But companies want certainty from the government. Ministers should show them how they plan to increase EU traders’ readiness for the new controls.”
New paperwork rules for the transportation of certain foods, which were to come into effect in October, are now being introduced in January.
Physical border controls on those goods will now start in July next year instead of January.
New requirements for export health certificates, due to be introduced next month, will now be introduced in July.