New Brexit border checks omnishambles

Published on April 29, 2024

This week, new post-Brexit border checks are being rolled out for goods being imported from the EU. It's estimated that the new checks will cost British businesses up to £2 billion and add 10% to import costs in the first year.

It's just one example of how the government's hard Brexit is harming businesses and increasing costs for all of us. Brexit has become a hole in the pocket of millions of hardworking British families.

The shambolic roll-out of these checks is also illustrative of the government's negligent and chaotic handling of Brexit. Delayed five times already, just days before the new border regime was due to come in, port authorities and even sitting MPs were still in the dark about crucial details.

According to the chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, Martin McTague, the process has been one of “complete disarray” with it falling on businesses to “decode messy and unclear messages” from the government about the checks.

Meanwhile, businesses large and small have been warning that the new red tape will further push up costs and, in many cases, put their supply chains at risk.

The government needs to face up to the effects of its own hard Brexit, understand the damage being done to business, and stop subjecting small companies to moving targets and uncertainty.

There are steps the government could take right now to mitigate the spiralling costs and extra bureaucracy, like negotiating a food safety agreement allowing easier trade with the EU.

But ultimately, the solution to this mess is put the UK back where it belongs – in the single market and, ultimately, back at the centre of Europe.

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