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New Brexit border checks to cost businesses billions


New post-Brexit border checks are expected to add billions of increased costs for UK firms doing business with the EU.

The new checks apply to medium-risk goods such as meat, dairy and plants. One flower company owner told the BBC that the extra costs related to checks on his imports from Europe will cost an extra £225,000 a year – costs that he will have to pass on to customers.

The checks kicked in from midnight and are designed to help secure the UK’s borders from biohazards and threats such as disease and pests. When inside the EU, these checks were already being conducted on the continent and meat, dairy and agricultural goods could pass into the UK unchecked.

Health certificates were already introduced in January this year for plants and food, though now physical checks must be carried out. Low-risk items such as canned goods can pass through unchecked though.

UK importers are also facing charges for consignments that arrive into the UK even if they’re not stopped for inspection.

The government has suggested that the increased beurocracy will cost businesses around £330, a year and add 0.2% to food inflation – figures which some specialists believe are optimistic.

The Cold Chain Federation told Sky News: “We think there’s going to be a billion pound’s worth of extra cost put onto food coming through Dover port alone, if you expand that to the rest of the country you’re looking at all sorts of money, so it won’t be 0.2%, it will be substantially more than that and the consumer will see that increase.

“Restaurants, delicatessens, fish and chip shops could well be affected by what’s currently happening today and the consumer, in the very near future will start to see some of those food products going up in price.”

Read more: Brexit has made the UK harder to invest in, and less productive too

A cabinet office minister said that: “It is essential that we introduce these global, risk-based checks to improve the UK’s biosecurity. We cannot continue with temporary measures which leave the UK open to threats from diseases and could do considerable damage to our livelihoods, our economy and our farming industry.”

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