Brexit ‘causing extra costs and delays’ for UK firms

UK businesses have seen increased costs, paperwork and border delays as a result of Brexit, MPs have said.

The European Union introduced full import controls at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

A report by the the Public Accounts Committee said that since then, although UK trade volumes been suppressed by the impact of Covid-19 and wider global pressures, “it is clear that EU exit has had an impact, and that new border arrangements have added costs to business”.

The spending watchdog added that it has “repeatedly raised concerns about the impact of changes to trading arrangements on businesses of all sizes and we remain concerned”.

Britain’s implementation of post-Brexit import controls has been delayed three times over the past year.

“One of the great promises of Brexit was freeing British businesses to give them the headroom to maximise their productivity and contribution to the economy — even more desperately needed now on the long road to recovery from the pandemic,” said Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

“Yet the only detectable impact so far is increased costs, paperwork and border delays.”

Hillier added that the UK government should be doing more to understand and minimise the current burden on those trading with the EU, to address the immediate delivery and readiness risks in introducing import controls, and to have a border in place that operates effectively without further delays or temporary measures.