The government has taken a ‘pragmatic’ move to delay checks on EU goods due to commence on 1st October in order to avoid pressure on already stretched supply chains.

According to Brexit Minister Lord David Frost, the decision to delay checks which will mostly affect food and agricultural products, was taken because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, others have argued that the problems in the supply chain have been made worse due to labour shortages in the UK as a result of Brexit.  Shadow Cabinet Minister Jenny Chapman said, “This announcement shows what we have all known for months – that the government do not have a workable, sustainable answer to tackling delays and red tape at the border.”

Under the revised proposals, pre-notification of agri-food imports to the UK will be introduced on 1st January 2022 instead of 1st October this year.  Ministers hope this will avoid any further disruption to Christmas food supplies.

Physical checks on goods at the border and health certification for food products due to start on 1st January 2022 will now be pushed back until July 2022.  New requirements for export health certificates which were due to be bought in on 1st October 2021 will now be introduced 18 months after Brexit came into effect on 1st July 2022.

Chief Executive of the Food and Drink Federation Ian Wright welcomed recognition from the government that supply chains were under pressure but said that the government needed to put financial support in place to help companies meet the new deadlines.  He also commented, “The repeated failure to implement full UK border controls on EU imports since 1st January 2021 undermines trust and confidence amongst businesses.  Worse, it actually helps the UK’s competitors…since it distorts the market and places many UK producers at a competitive disadvantage with EU producers.”

Andrew from Arcus said;

“Whilst the temporary extension may help avert empty shelves at Christmas, you have to ask yourself why has it come to this yet again?  What the Government is calling pragmatism has resulted in British exports to the EU being subject to full checks whilst imports from Europe are mostly paperwork exempt.  Irony indeed.”

  • To find out more on the Government’s new timetable for border checks click here