04 April 2023

Announcement on post-Brexit checks on EU goods expected

04 April 2023

Ministers are expected to announce streamlined post-Brexit checks on goods coming to the UK from the EU, according to reports.

The Government has delayed putting in place the checks four times, which are legally required under the Brexit trade deal with the EU.

But the i newspaper reports that the Cabinet Office will publish details on Wednesday of how the new customs and regulatory process will work, before introducing it later this year.

The Government is attempting to minimise the trade checks, according to the i – and has plans for a trusted trader programme to allow frequent importers to avoid them.

Inspections of food and animal products are likely to be the most thorough, but ministers are expected to announce they have reduced them as much as feasibly possible.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told the newspaper: “The Government is delivering on our ambition to have the world’s most effective border.

“Our new target operating model will reduce the need for checks for many types of goods.

“We are working with stakeholders and are taking a pragmatic approach to phasing in these controls to give business the opportunity to prepare.”

According to the newspaper, the checks are set take place away from the border in order to relieve pressure on ports.

While checks on goods and passport control are separate processes, port operators have reportedly been concerned about the impact on the border once the plans are in place.

Travel chaos engulfed Dover earlier over the weekend, as Easter holiday tourists attempted to make their way to France but were met with long queues amid border checks.

The queues had cleared by Monday morning but there are fears the congestion could return during other peak periods due to French border officials carrying out extra checks and stamping UK passports following Brexit.

Over the weekend, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said it would not be fair to view the delays as “an adverse effect of Brexit”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a “combination of factors” were responsible, including French border officers “inspecting and stamping every single passport”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Brexit had “of course” had an impact, and called for greater planning ahead of future holiday seasons.

Some 1,000 civil servants working at eight Passport Office sites have meanwhile walked out, as the Public and Commercial Services union discusses pay with the Government.

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