Don’t need EU! Businesses warned of 'unfair advantage' as Brexit Britain breaks free

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Michael Ellis outlines the customs checks stats

However, Jayne Adye, director of grassroots cross-Party campaign Get Britain Out, believes businesses should adjust to the new reality – rather than expecting additional financial help and rule relaxations. Ms Adye was speaking after the introduction of new regulations on January 1 which will see most imports from the EU checked at the UK border before the customs.

The situation has prompted the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to suggest many “won’t be ready” – although the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) said most bigger companies were prepared.

Ms Adye told Express.co.uk: “These new full checks on imports from the EU are an important stage in the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

“They finally show the Government is no longer trying to kick the can down the road and act as if leaving the EU will not bring about changes in the way we trade with the world.”

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s UK has introduced new rules as of January 1 (Image: GETTY)

Dover

The UK port of Dover (Image: GETTY)

While additional red tape was never ideal for small businesses, Prime Minister Boris Johnson needed to ensure he did “everything possible to help streamline the system”, Ms Adye said.

However, she continued: “It was always clear, at some point the reality would have to be faced by businesses which want to trade with EU countries.

“There cannot be a continuous trend of additional money and relaxed rules for those who refuse to adjust – just as we cannot continue to issue large numbers of visas to wage workers on the whim of companies who are avoiding paying UK workers a proper wage.”

Ms Adye added: “Support is clearly available on Government websites for those who want to look for it, including Helplines to provide one-on-one advice specific to each company.

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“Perhaps, if the Federation of Small Businesses and the Confederation of British Industry cannot help their members find this support, businesses in this country should look to pay different organisations to represent them.

“Just asking for more money from the Government at every opportunity is not the answer.

“These import checks are required to comply with UK standards, as well as making sure the proper import duties and taxes are being paid.

“This has been delayed time and time again to allow companies to catch up with the process. It cannot continue, especially as it gives an unfair advantage to EU businesses exporting to the UK – even though we have now left the EU.”

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson, the UK’s Prime Minister (Image: GETTY)

Red tape

Jayne Adye said it was important to cut red tape where possible (Image: GETTY)

The same import process was required from every other country in the world where the UK had a trade deal – so there was no reason why it should it be any different for EU imports, she emphasised.

She said: “If avoiding import checks really is a business’s top priority, then instead of demanding we stay bound to the EU, would it not be better to focus on buying components and goods from UK suppliers and supporting local businesses to encourage further innovation and specialisation from within the UK economy – whilst also removing the need to pay for expensive international haulage?”

An announcement published on the Government’s website on December 1 stated: “From January 1, 2022, your goods may be directed to an Inland Border Facility for documentary or physical checks if these checks cannot be done at the border.

Brexit

The Brexit transition contributed to a large drop in trade with the EU (Image: Express)

“It’s important that those involved in transporting your goods are ready and understand how you intend to operate from January 2022.

“From January 1, 2022, you must also submit an ‘arrived’ export declaration if your goods are moving through one of the border locations that uses the arrived exports process.”

The announcement added: “If you do not follow the correct process from January 1, 2022, the new systems will not permit your goods to leave the country and they will be turned away as they will not hold export clearance.

“If you use a service such as a courier or freight forwarder to move your goods, you need to check their terms and conditions about who will make the declarations, and what other information they need from you to do this.”

Five key Brexit moments

Five key Brexit moments (Image: Express)

A Government spokesman added:  “Overall trader readiness for the introduction of import controls is strong, and there is plenty of support available to ensure SMEs are well positioned to comply with UK border processes, including one-to-one advice through the Export Support Service.

“Through our targeted multimedia campaign and a series of sector-based webinars, businesses are also signposted to the relevant information to help them.

“Given the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains, we have been introducing import controls in phases throughout 2022 in order to give businesses more time to prepare.”

Express.co.uk has approached the FSB and CBI for comment.



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