The Government has confirmed that the plans to require food importers into the UK to make import declarations from 1 April have been delayed to 1 October, and that the plan to start making physical checks will be delayed to 1st January 2022.
This decision will mean that business across the supply chain servicing UK retailers and hospitality will avoid the potential disruption and uncertainty of ‘friction’ at the UK border as it enters a crucial period of post-covid lockdown recovery.
The Cold Chain Federation represents businesses which store and move chilled and frozen food, in temperature-controlled storage facilities and refrigerated vehicles.
Cold Chain Federation Chief Executive Shane Brennan said: “Businesses across the food supply chain will breathe a sigh of relief that the looming prospect of additional red tape and uncertainty has been delayed past the crucial spring and summer months.
“Ensuring shops, restaurants and cafes have the supplies they need will be a vital part of helping them respond to unpredictable customer demand and this decision will help ensure supply chains are more resilient and responsive to their needs.
“It is also fair to say that this decision was necessary because we did not have confidence that the systems and infrastructure needed to meet the 1 April and 1 July deadlines are on course to be ready. We hope and expect that the additional time will be well used to finish the border inspection posts, employ and train the necessary people to run them and work with industry to ensure readiness is high.
“In amidst this positive news we should also pause to think about the ongoing unfairness that will be experienced by UK to EU food exporters, who will continue to face a hard border with all its costs and uncertainties and see their equivalents continuing to benefit from de facto unfettered access to their domestic market. It is not clear how this action will give the EU an incentive to be more willing to discuss ways to reduce the burdens on UK exporters.”