UK 'not ready'

Checks on imports from EU face further delays

Britain not prepared for imports

Post-Brexit checks on food and farming imports to England, Scotland and Wales have been delayed further because of Covid disruption and pressure on global supply chains.

Measures which were expected to come in next month will now be introduced in January and July next year.

Some sources in the logistics and customs sector have said the government’s infrastructure was not ready to conduct the full checks by 1 October.

However, the postponement has angered those who have spent thousands of pounds preparing for the changeover, claiming the delay rewards those that have done nothing.

The EU has implemented full checks on UK goods since the start of this year, but checks on goods arriving in the UK were delayed and, in March, the government announced a timetable to get changes for the food and agriculture sectors in place by 1 October.

Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt has told MPs another postponement is now needed, blaming the pandemic and the pressures placed on the logistics sector, but making no mention of new Brexit rules.

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“The government’s own preparations, in terms of systems, infrastructure and resourcing, remain on track to meet that timetable,” she said, in a written Commons statement.

“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.”

Ms Mordaunt announced 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.

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