Grassroots charity workers say five tonnes of donations for Ukraine are still in the UK due to confusion over documentation. Britain’s exit from the EU single market and customs union led to a rise in bureaucracy for imports and exports between the UK and Europe.
This red tape is responsible for holding up supplies on their way to Ukraine to support civilians after Russia’s invasion, the charities have said.
The UN says the demand for aid in Ukraine is “growing at an alarming pace” – figures on Monday showed 12 million people in need and a $1billion (£760 million) shortfall in funding.
Last weekend UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a cease-fire to allow life-saving aid to safely be transported to people encircled by Russian forces.
However, Brexit bureaucracy means some aid donations from the UK are stuck.
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Agnieszka Lokaj, who runs the Lewisham Polish Centre in south London, told PoliticsHome that despite receiving mounting donations, “we are not exporting”.
She said: “I don’t want to send drivers to the border where they will be stuck for several days.
“It doesn’t make sense to spend so much time and money dealing with the bureaucracy.”
HMRC, which oversees customs checks on goods crossing the border, recommends donations to the UN’s Disasters Emergency Committee as the best means of support.
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