The British government is to delay introducing post-Brexit checks on food and farming imports to England, Scotland and Wales. The reasons given are Covid disruptions and pressure on global supply chains. Those measures that were expected to come in next month will now be introduced in January and July next year. A business group called the delays "sensible" but called for more "certainty" on future inspections.
The EU has implemented full checks on UK goods since the start of this year. Checks on goods going the other way were originally due to come into force in full after the post-Brexit transition ended in January 2021. But this was delayed and, in March, the government announced a timetable to get changes for the food and agriculture sectors done by 1 October.
Minister Penny Mordaunt stated that another postponement is now necessary. "The government's own preparations, in terms of systems, infrastructure and resourcing, remain on track to meet that timetable," she said. "However, the pandemic has had longer-lasting impacts on businesses, both in the UK and in the European Union, than many observers expected in March. There are also pressures on global supply chains, caused by a wide range of factors including the pandemic and the increased costs of global freight transport."
According to bbc.com¸ she added that the requirement to pre-notify British officials about agricultural and food imports from the EU would now start on 1 January next year, rather than on 1 October this year.
Trade group the British Chambers of Commerce called the latest delays "sensible given the ongoing issues with ensuring trader readiness, the need to build more border control posts and the skills shortages crisis."
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