Rishi Sunak has a plan, but we all have to pay for it.

6 May 2024

Yet More Brexit Price increases

We are being repeatedly told that Rishi Sunak has a plan.  Well if that is the case, part of it appears to be to make trade harder and increase food prices.

From the end of April, UK businesses importing goods from the EU will have to pay extra for the checks at the border.  The requirement is the direct consequence of leaving the EU Single Market and is a requirement of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.  This is not being imposed by the EU – this is happening because of the Brexit the Conservatives so enthusiastically endorsed.

Small businesses in particular will have to pick up extra costs, which will be significant depending on what goods are being imported and in what quantities.  The government estimates the cost to be about £330m per year, but independent experts have put the figure at nearer £3bn.    As well as the customs fees there are the costs associated with filling out the copious paperwork, and the time wasted in clearing customs. Because of Brexit, thousands of small businesses have stopped trying to trade with the rest of Europe, and that is even before the latest checks were implemented, 

The situation will be particular challenging for imports such as food and cut flowers, where speed of delivery is important.  It has been suggested that the new checks could add as much as £8 per month to the average food bill.

Whilst we were part of the EU it was as easy to get parmesan from Italy as potatoes from Lincolnshire.  The English channel is always going to be something of a bottleneck, but whilst we were in the EU it was never a barrier to the transit of goods.

The Liberal Democrat approach to these problems is to start rebuilding trade & cooperation with the rest of Europe.  Liberal Democrats are the UK’s most pro-European political party.  We believe Britain’s best future is at the heart of Europe - and our long-term ambition is to see the UK in that place once more.

Harry Rejoin

Harry Boparai, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Spelthorne commented

“We were promised that food would be cheaper after we left the EU, but it is now transparent that we were not told the truth.  These new checks are going to do real harm, particularly to small business that import from the EU, and the Conservatives just don’t seem to care”.


BBC News 30th April 2024

ITV News 27th April 2024

Lib Dem policy

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