Considering the potential supply disruptions in the run-up to Christmas, the Government is debating whether to delay the import checks for goods coming from the EU.
The post-Brexit import checks are due to be initiated in October, with the majority completed by January. Initially, the regulation was meant to be introduced in April, however, the Government delayed it, so UK ports and businesses can have more time to prepare.
Boris Johnson was warned at the time that implementing the checks protocol in April, it will impact the supply of food and the country could not afford it considering many hospitality businesses were re-opening after lockdown. The UK receives around two-thirds of its fruit, vegetables, and cheese and over half of its wine from the continent, among other items.
However, it is said that the government officials are now analysing all aspects of delaying the introduction of checks on imports once again. Some industries declared they are expecting the government to announce a further delay in the next few days.
There are worries that if the plan goes ahead, it will impact the supply chains, even more, considering they are already struggling with workforce shortages. There are also concerns that many European businesses which export to Britain will not be ready for the new paperwork.
In the meantime, government sources declared that the import checks protocol is due to ahead, and it will be implemented by 1st of October. A spokesperson declared: "Our position remains that businesses should continue to prepare for import checks in October and January."
This was in response to Ireland's TÃ¡naiste Leo Varadkar telling journalists that he expected the UK to delay the introduction of checks on EU imports following a meeting in London with Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
"The expectation is that the United Kingdom will announce a further extension of the grace periods, not just in relation to Northern Ireland but also imports from the EU and Ireland into the UK," Varadkar said.
The delayed import checks would be highly appreciated by most business groups, as supply chains are already struggling with shortages of lorry drivers, processors, pickers, and other workers. One senior industry figure said introducing the checks from October 1 would be "lunacy".
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