New Brexit Bill Introduce Levies, UK Business Group Warns of Higher Food Inflation

British business groups are cautioning that recently announced post-Brexit fees on plant and animal imports might lead to an increase in food prices shortly after a decline in food inflation rates.

Starting April 30, UK businesses importing most animal products, plants, or plant products from the European Union through the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel will be required to pay up to £145 ($184) per delivery, as per the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs’ announcement on Wednesday.

The Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel handle the majority of UK food imports.

Importers will face a charge of £29 ($37) per product type, up to a maximum of £145 for a single delivery containing various products. (Credits: Justin Tallis)

This means that a truck loaded with a single type of meat will incur at least a £29 charge, while a similar-sized truck carrying different meats, yogurts, and cheeses could face the maximum charge.

This maximum fee may need to be paid multiple times, depending on the truck’s origin and destination.

Tom Southall, deputy chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, which represents UK businesses delivering perishable produce, believes that these charges could prevent food inflation from continuing to decrease.

UK importers are likely to pass on the new levies to consumers, according to trade groups.

William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, described the new charges as a “hammer blow for small and medium-sized UK importers” and expressed concern about their impact on retailers, cafes, and restaurants.

Smaller European exporters might also suffer as British businesses may ask them to cover some of the additional costs.

Southall noted that some European exporters are already reconsidering serving the UK due to the increased expenses. (Credits: iStock)

The new charges aim to help the government cover the cost of operating its post-Brexit border facilities and coincide with the introduction of physical checks on many EU animal and plant products.

James Barnes, chairman of the Horticultural Trades Association, criticized the timing of the announcement, stating that it came at the “eleventh hour” and would lead to higher costs, potentially reducing consumer choice and causing empty shelves.

A government spokesperson defended the charges, stating that they were set at the lower end of the range discussed during a consultation period last summer.

The £145 cap was specifically designed to assist smaller businesses, the spokesperson added, emphasizing the government’s commitment to supporting businesses of all sizes as they adjust to new border checks.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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