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Post-Brexit Border Checks Will Begin April 30th; Jenney Decries “Extortionate Costs”

The government has refuted reports suggesting that post-Brexit border checks on EU goods would be delayed.

A Defra statement on April 19th reaffirmed the April 30th start date, stating, "As has been previously outlined, we will be commencing checks from 30 April. Our enforcement approach will be graduated to help traders comply.”

Despite the government's assurances, the Fresh Produce Consortium's (FPC) Chief Executive, Nigel Jenney, has warned of the severe financial burden these checks will place on the fresh produce industry.

"From the end of this month, this legislation will apply to plants and cut flowers from Europe," Jenney clarified.

The 'Common User Charge' Under Fire

The FPC is particularly concerned about the 'common user charge,' a per-commodity fee reaching up to £145 per consignment (up to five products).

"From our point of view, this is hugely expensive. It is unaffordable. It will drive food inflation and ultimately this is a blatant tax on our industry by the UK government," Jenney stated.

He further criticised the government for imposing a 500% increase over prior industry expectations. “If as a small business I import 100 consignments… I would be charged £14,500 for every 100 consignments I imported to the UK… It is just extortionate.”

Limited Inspector Availability Exacerbates Concerns

Jenney also highlighted how last-minute cutbacks in inspector availability at designated control points will force many businesses to use more expensive government inspection facilities. This, combined with the Common User Charge, could add over £200 million in annual costs to the sector.

"We are working very hard to say, look your current proposals are not fit for purpose,” Jenney stressed.

The FPC is actively lobbying the government to revise its plans.


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