Brexit charges could lead to higher food prices

Business Comments Off on Brexit charges could lead to higher food prices

Fees of up to £145 will be charged from 30 April. Small imports such as sausages and cheese are included in the charge.

Trade groups have warned of potential increases in food prices following the Government’s announcement of new post-Brexit import charges on EU food and plant products.

These charges, known as the common user charge, will affect small imports of items such as sausages, cheese and yoghurt entering through Dover and Eurotunnel at Folkestone. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has outlined fees up to £145, effective from 30 April, intended to cover border inspection costs and enhance biosecurity by preventing the import of diseases.

These charges will apply to imports arriving in the UK and those transiting through. However, trade groups have criticised the move, arguing it will increase business expenses, raise food prices and possibly reduce consumer choice.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) highlighted the announcement’s late timing and expressed concerns over its negative impact on the competitiveness of UK horticulture. It noted that 90% of the association’s growers, predominantly small businesses, import plants at some stage, and many will face the maximum £145 charge.

James Barnes, chair of the HTA, said:

“This will be a huge new cost burden for many, hitting small- or medium-sized enterprises hard.” The policy feels like it is constructed on the back of an envelope at best, he added.

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