Royal British Legion to ‘stop selling poppies in the EU due to Brexit’

Royal British Legion poppies (PA Archive)
12:36pm, Sat 19 Jun 2021
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The Royal British Legion will no longer sell poppies in the European Union due to red tape following Brexit, according to reports.

The charity, which provides support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, is said to have sent an email to supporters stating it will “need to cease sales to customers in countries in the EU” for the foreseeable future until legislation surrounding Brexit is reviewed.

The i newspaper reported that it could not justify the expense, including customs charges, to send poppies overseas following Britain’s departure from the EU’s customs union on January 1.

But the charity said post-Brexit regulations would only affect sales to the EU from its online Poppy Shop and would not impact the distribution of poppies to Royal British Legion (RBL) members in Europe for remembrance activities.

Poppy appeal (PA Archive)

Poppies are worn in October and November for Armistice Day, and the charity sells them to raise money for members of the armed forces, veterans and their families.

The RBL also sells a range of poppy jewellery, clothing and accessories through its online Poppy Shop.

The i said it has seen a copy of the email sent to supporters.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the RBL said: “The RBL’s distribution of paper poppies to the EU is not affected as a result of the UK leaving the European Union.

“Goods sold by our online Poppy Shop to customers in the EU will be subject to the local rate of VAT and customs fees from July 1.

“These costs are often higher than the value of the goods themselves and to pass them on to customers is not reasonable, therefore regrettably we are ceasing sales to customers in countries in the EU until such time as that legislation is reviewed.’

A Government spokeswoman told PA: “We are focused on supporting UK organisations as they adjust to our new trading relationship with the EU.

“The work of The Royal British Legion and the money they raise through their annual poppy appeal is incredibly important and we will engage with them to ensure they get the support they need to operate in the EU.”

Poppes at the Royal British Legion (PA Archive)

Businesses have faced tough new rules following Britain’s severing of ties with the EU.

Retailers, fishermen and fresh food companies have complained the new measures are delaying deliveries and increasing their costs due to the extra customs checks and paperwork.

London and Brussels are currently locked in a battle over the Northern Ireland Protocol following the unilateral action taken by the British government earlier this year to apply an extension to a transition period.

The action was aimed to try and help goods move more easily between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after supermarkets’ shelves in Northern Ireland were stripped bare due to exporting and importing problems in early 2021.

The move was criticised by Brussels and on Thursday, the UK formally requested an extension, allowing sausages, burgers and mince to continue being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland until September 30.

The European Commission is currently assessing the request.

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