Here’s the real cost to businesses – and customers – of post-Brexit border checks

Costs from the repeatedly-delayed Common User Charge will be passed onto consumers, says James Moore

Tuesday 30 April 2024 16:27 BST
Another Brexit aftershock will be felt in the supermarket aisles
Another Brexit aftershock will be felt in the supermarket aisles (AFP via Getty Images)

Brexit has shaken Britain’s economy like an earthquake whose aftershocks are still being felt.

The latest tremor threatens the future of a substantial number of small businesses – the very people that politicians like to eulogise. It comes in the form of import checks on a multitude of products, starting with meat, cheese and some fish. A range of fruit and veg will be added. Seeds, too.

These checks are not free, and importers will bear the cost. The Common User Charge will apply to consignments coming through any government-owned border control post. It must be paid regardless of whether a check is actually performed or not. Remember how Brexiteers used to bang on about “Brussels bureaucracy” and what a terrible thing it was? It’s simply being replaced by British bureaucracy. We have swapped red tape for red, white and blue tape.

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