In October 2016, David Davis, the then Brexit secretary, told the House of Commons that “there will be no downside to Brexit at all, and considerable upsides”.
Five years on there are plenty of downsides emerging, though the upsides are, to put it mildly, more elusive.
If you know of any specific upsides or downsides, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to a confirming story from a reputable source.
Downsides are growing fastest and are shown first but you can jump to the upsides below if you wish by clicking HERE.
We also maintain a list of ‘upsides’ that the government has claimed are benefits of Brexit, which are in fact fake. You can see this list under Brexit ‘benefit’ myths. Each one is debunked with verifiable evidence.
(NB. We only introduced our view counter recently)
607. Music touring in the UK. Legendary lead singer of The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, says Brexit has been a “nightmare” for the music touring industry, with musicians now facing even more red tape when travelling into the UK. Jagger is reported to have told The Sunday Times; “There are a lot of supply chain problems. A lot of shortages, a lot of problems because of Brexit. Brexit has not been a success for the British touring industry.” Since leaving the EU, artists entering the UK must obtain visas and work permits, which make it increasingly difficult for indie musicians to perform and tour across the country
606. Trade marks. The number of UK trademark disputes has soared to record highs due to a surge of trademark applications following Brexit according to CityAM using data from intellectual property (IP) law firm Mathys & Squire. Lawyer Harry Rowe, said: “Now that the UK is no longer covered in an EU trade mark, trade mark owners must file two separate applications in order to achieve the same protection. There is now twice as much ground to cover for businesses seeking to protect their investment in their brands.”
605. Dover. Kent County Council has awarded a £180,000 six month contract to RE:ACT Disaster Response, a charity specialising in earthquakes aid and helping war refugees, to care for suffering lorry drivers stuck for hours and days in post-Brexit queues en-route to Dover. With up to 50 days of gridlock now forecast every year on motorways leading to the port, the charity will provide ‘humanitarian assistance’ including access to toilets, food and drink.
604. Horizon funding. A Cambridge University astrophysicist has been forced to hand over his coordinating role after the row over Northern Ireland protocol put science in the firing line. Nicholas Walton, a research fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, studying the Milky Way and hoping to play a major part in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) next big project, reluctantly passed his leadership role in the €2.8m pan-European Marie Curie Network research project to a colleague in the Netherlands on Friday. The EU say UK scientists cannot hold leadership roles until the UK’s membership of the £80bn Horizon Europe (HE) funding network has been ratified
603. Vegetable shortages. The Daily Mail report that shoppers could struggle to obtain fruit and vegetables this summer due to a shortage of seasonal crop pickers. Quoting a report in The Grocer magazine, the Mail says some UK areas are currently missing as much as 75 per cent of their seasonal workforce, raising fears produce will be left to rot in the ground. The impacts of Brexit, with a large number of seasonal crop pickers traditionally coming from the EU, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and delays in issuing temporary visas have been blamed.
602. Food price inflation. The former CEO of Sainsburys, Justin King, has blamed Brexit for starting the rise in food prices. “Well in excess of 40% of our food comes from Europe, so it started with Brexit, Covid exacerbated the problems and of course the war in Ukraine and the particular impact it is having on certain commodities will be long lasting and significant,” he said. It comes as the governor of the Bank of England has also warned this week of “apocalyptic” food prices.
601. Food Safety: The Food Standards Agency has said the loss of access to data sharing arrangements with the EU after Brexit has negatively impacted their ability to carry out their work. The UK’s food safety watchdog said it has been forced to use other international systems, publicly available information and case-by-case arrangements to make up the difference.
600. Regulators: The National Audit Office has published a report indicating that UK regulatory bodies are finding it difficult to recruit staff and expand activities as necessary after Brexit. The Competition and Market Authority faces challenges in recruiting increasing numbers of staff with expertise in toxicology for example. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) expects it will be a further four years before it reaches the full capacity and there is a risk regulatory decisions could be delayed. The HSE has already extended approvals for biocidal active substances due to expire in 2021-22 to at least 2023.
599. UK economy: The UK economy is estimated to have lost £47bn because of Brexit red tape as businesses drown in cross-border tax complexities, claims City AM. Just under a third of survey respondents currently exporting to the EU are planning to exit at least one market, and 3 in 5 businesses say fears about tax compliance has caused them to reverse plans to sell goods in the EU. The research predicts that the investment loss due to cross-border tax complexity is expected to result in a further £16.1bn of value lost to the UK by 2026.
598. Red tape: Marks & Spencer CEO Archie Norman has said Brexit red tape is far worse for British exports to the EU than to Northern Ireland, with some documentation having to be completed in Latin and in a particular typeface. Norman said that exports from Britain to Northern Ireland were currently able to avoid the quagmire thanks to a temporary grace period but he warned that it requires 700 pages of documentation to send a “wagon” to the Republic of Ireland, which it takes eight hours to complete.
597. Ulster farmers: Because of the Irish Sea border created by the NI protocol, Ulster farmers are unable to bring animals to England, Scotland and Wales to exhibit and sell, since they cannot bring them back easily. Before returning they must first remain in GB for six months. Harry Parker, the chair of the British Limousin Cattle Society said there are 500 or so members in Northern Ireland, and that this problem has been causing them and other cattle breeders headaches for roughly the last 18 months or so. He described the situation as “appalling”.
596. Publishing: A Scottish publisher has blamed Brexit after his business was hit with spiralling costs and dwindling sales. Glasgow-based Vagabond Voices is chiefly involved in translating European novels into English. Owner Allan Cameron, who specialises in Italian translations, told The Sunday National that Brexit had caused delivery times to double in some cases while printing costs have increased – both issues he pins on the UK’s exit of the European Union. As well as a “substantial” increase in costs, he’s also seeing his EU sales plummet – a key market for the company.
595. Imported food risk: Farming and veterinary groups have warned that delays to applying checks on EU food imports are “an accident waiting to happen” according to the FT. Industry insiders claim the Food Standards Agency has warned pig farmers about illegal shipments of pork from Romania which is battling an outbreak of African Swine Fever in its animals. The British Veterinary Association has described the delay as “deeply misguided” and urged ministers to “abandon” their plans or risk causing “significant damage” to the country’s food and farming industries.
594. Hauliers: The government has announced that specialist hauliers serving Britain’s musical touring sector will be now able to use ‘dual registration’, a system allowing hauliers to drive the same vehicle in Great Britain and the EU. Hauliers will however need to have an “established base” in the EU and will be able to transfer vehicle operator licences without the need to change vehicles, have their journeys limited or pay VED in Great Britain. The announcement was described as a “major boost.”
593. Costs of trade: According to CityAM, Brexit means there is £173m a week less to spend on the NHS, according to calculations based on recent ONS and UK Government data. David Jinks, head of consumer research at international transport firm ParcelHero, which carried out the research, said, “Even if we subtract the true £11bn cost of EU membership for 2018, from the £20bn drop in EU export earnings, UK plc is still £9bn poorer than it was in 2018.” He added that, “In January 2021 alone , the value of goods exported to the European Union fell from £14.3bn in the previous month to £7.8bn.”
592. Ex pats disillusionment@ A survey, of 1,328 British nationals living across the continent, showed that Brexit, and the UK’s handling of the Covid pandemic, strongly affected 80% of respondents’ feelings towards Britain, with responses including “deep shame”, “disappointment”, “embarrassed to be British”, “shambolic”, and “like watching a house on fire”. Just over 30% still felt emotionally attached to the UK, compared with 75% who said they felt a very or extreme emotional attachment to the EU, and 59% who felt the same in relation to their country of residence.
591. Chicken: Brexit pressures are largely to blame for the soaring price of chicken, the British Poultry Council (BPC) has said – rejecting Boris Johnson’s claim it is down to global energy prices. The BPC blamed post-Brexit non-tariff barriers and skill shortages for the sharp rise in production costs. Citing “ongoing Brexit pressures”, the industry trade body said: “Combined with trade barriers, shipping delays for machinery plus a skills shortage (vets and lorry drivers), this all adds a cost that has to be recovered through the marketplace.”
590. Art works: A British dealer, Steve Shovlar, says, his firm is now “in ruins” thanks to Brexit. Shovlar mainly deals in old master paintings priced between £100 and £1,500 — not enormous sums, but enough for his small business to be worth £1m. However, since the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, his income has dropped by 60% with EU trade involving multiple invoices and customs declarations now “virtually impossible”. Shipping delays of around four to six weeks are not uncommon.
589. Driving licences: From 1 May, tens of thousands of British expats will be unable to use their UK driving licence on roads in Spain after the UK and Spanish governments failed to reach an agreement about DVLA-issued licences by the 30 April deadline. Tourists are exempt from the new policy which will only impact Britons resident in Spain. Every other European nation has come to a post-Brexit agreement about UK drivers.
588. Holiday bar staff: Holidaymakers in some European resorts are expected to face an unexpected shortage this summer. Brexit employment rules mean many bars and restaurants will be short of staff because of restrictions on workers from the UK. For decades, thousands of British youngsters have jetted overseas for a summer working in the bars of popular holiday resorts in Spain and Greece, but this has now been blocked because of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
April 2022 ⇓
587. International trade: Research by the Petersen Institute for International Economics shows that Brexit has reduced UK trade openness, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, and immigration growth. New border frictions and higher transport costs pose new barriers to trade, and FDI inflows are unlikely to return to levels reached in the 1990s and 2000s.
586. Inflation: A former Bank of England policy maker, Adam Posen, has attributed most of Britain’s inflation problem to Brexit. The economist who heads the Peterson Institute for International Economics said that 80% of the reason why the International Monetary Fund expects Britain’s inflation to remain elevated for longer than other G7 peers is the impact of leaving the EU.
585. Inflation: Brexit has caused a 6% increase in Britain’s food prices, according to new evidence from the London School of Economics. Nikhil Datta, a researcher, found that greater trade barriers on imports from the EU has had a “clear and robust” impact on food prices, as families struggle to cope with the cost of living crisis. Grocery bills have risen most sharply for food products more reliant on imports from the EU, the study by the LSE Centre for Economic Performance revealed.
584. Research: British universities are facing a brain drain as the row over the Northern Ireland protocol threatens £250m in research funding from the EU, according to The Guardian. The European Research Council (ERC) has written to 98 scientists and academics who were recently approved for €172m (£145m) in grants telling them that if the UK’s associate membership of the €80bn Horizon Europe programme is not ratified they will not be eligible to draw down the money.
583. Passport rules: A family has lost a £3,000 holiday after the mother was told her passport, which expired in February 2023 was not valid for travel to Portugal and some other European countries. Although the passport had more than the required three months before the expiry date, Nina Gurd was told the expiry date was irrelevant, she explained to the BBC. Bournemouth Airport staff said it needed to be within ten years of the issue date and Gurd’s passport was originally issued on 29 May 2012, but had been renewed early and another nine months added, giving it a new expiry date of 28 February 2023.
582. Trade: Boris Johnson has indicated that import controls on EU goods due to take effect in July will be delayed for a fourth time after experts warned of a “collapse” in trade if the checks are implemented. The PM appeared to suggest the checks can be put off indefinitely until technological solutions are found. It cements an inbuilt advantage for EU exporters. The EU was able to implement checks on UK exports immediately Brexit came into effect in January 2021 while ‘grace periods’ for imports from the continent, have been repeatedly extended.
581. EU Trade Agreement: In March, the EU published a review of the working of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement after its first year of operation in 2021. It noted a “marked decline” in trade in goods. EU imports from the UK falling 24.8% compared to 2019 and EU exports to the UK falling by 11.4%. It warned of future ‘challenges’ for EU exporters when UK customs and SPS requirements on imports are implemented later this year due to the “complexity of the IT system put in place by the United Kingdom.”
580. Trade: The Institute of Directors (IOD) has published survey data showing that 42% of businesses that trade internationally are now exporting less to the EU compared to the last five years, with 28% importing less from the EU. Emma Rowland, Policy Advisor at the Institute of Directors, said, “Over the past year, UK businesses have lost EU clients and experienced a loss in revenue. EU firms have pulled out of the UK market due to increased trade frictions”. One of the primary challenges businesses face is the administrative and cost-related burden of new customs arrangements.
579. Import costs: A wine merchant has claimed importers are being forced to pay up to £150 per consignment for customs paper work associated with excise goods in transit from the EU to a bonded warehouse in the UK. Daniel Lambert, of Daniel Lambert (Wines) in Bridgend says hauliers are increasingly using independent brokers for the duplicated documents required for bonded stock and they are charging up to £150. On a pallet of wine this adds 48p per bottle to the retail price.
578. Gibraltar: According to City AM, Spanish authorities are refusing entry to British nationals trying to enter the country from Gibraltar. Numerous British citizens were said to be unable to enter Spain this week as authorities at the border demanded to see hotel reservations and evidence of onward travel. Those who were unable to do so were refused entry into Spain. It comes as Spain steps up controls on travellers from non-EU countries trying to enter the bloc via or from Gibraltar.
577. Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland tourism industry has warned £160m of visitor spend and half a million tourists could be impacted by plans for a US-style visa waiver document for journeys across the border. Under new post-Brexit legislation being considered, non-Irish EU citizens living in or visiting the Republic would require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to cross the border into Northern Ireland. Dr Joanne Stuart from the NI Tourism Alliance said there had been “no consultation at all with the industry” on the plans and said the single-entry system “would just be unworkable and completely impractical”.
576. Exporters: The FT report the influx of British-based companies to Holland has swelled as they struggle with the disruption of a customs border across the North Sea. More than 90 investors have built or rented distribution space since 2017, half of them in 2021, according to government agency Invest in Holland. Martin Bysh, CEO of Huboo, a logistics provider, said it had to act after clients deserted as Brexit negotiations went to the wire in December 2020. “We lost about 10% of our revenue, which was clients leaving the UK for Europe,” he said. “It was a chaotic landscape.”
575. Language schools: A report by the Tourism Alliance says language schools for foreign students are being “devastated” by a combination of post-Brexit red tape and the impact of the pandemic, threatening the future of a £3.2bn industry. The TA said even though covid travel restrictions had been lifted, ministers had imposed unnecessary barriers on children from France, Germany and other EU nations, prompting a collapse in school group bookings and an estimated 80% drop in revenue across the industry, threatening 40,000 jobs.
574. Services exports: Figures from the ONS show financial services exports to the EU for Q1-Q3 2021 fell by 38% compared to the same period in 2018 while the same exports to the rest of the world were flat. Professional services exports to the EU fell 12% when sales of similar services to the rest of the world rose by 40%.
573. HGV drivers: Road hauliers warn they cannot persuade enough EU drivers to come to the UK, and businesses face losing customers if they cannot provide reliable delivery services. The drivers are put off by the prospect of waiting to pass through Dover or Folkestone. The Cold Chain Federation, said the UK had developed a “post-Brexit perception problem” typified by the recent traffic jams while Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, said: “Hauliers are reporting that they are struggling to get drivers willing to go to the UK if they are going to get delays getting home again and with the international shortage of drivers, they are able to be selective about what jobs they take.”
572. Medicines Regulator: Sources in the health care sector have told PoliticsHome that a senior official at the Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said regulatory changes as a result of Brexit could cost MHRA between £20-30m, leaving the regulator with a funding ‘black hole”. Before Brexit, the MHRA had earned a significant amount from the European Medicines Agency for work assessing new drugs but as a result of the changes they would have to adapt to a “new setup” post-Brexit.
571. Exports: A survey of more than 2,700 exporters by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found the number of firms reporting an increase in overseas sales unchanged at 29% during the first quarter of this year, while those reporting a decrease rose by one percentage point to 25%. William Bain, head of trade policy at the BCC, said this performance compares poorly to that of Germany, where exports inside and outside the European single market are ahead by double-digit margins.
570. Regional funding: According to The Independent, almost £2bn has been slashed from promised development spending in poorer areas of the UK. The government had pledged to match lost EU funding which would have required at least £4.5bn over the next three years but the budget reveals just £2.6bn has been allocated and reallocates the fund to improving “functional numeracy skills”, to boost job prospects. The move has provoked anger in many ‘Red Wall’ areas of England and in Scotland and Wales – which were big recipients of EU structural funds before Brexit.
569. Beetroot: 500 tonnes of beetroot is being left to rot due to a collapse in demand, caused by Brexit, a farmer tells the BBC. Will Woodhall grows beetroot and spring onions alongside cereals at his farm in Penkridge, Staffordshire and expects to lose up to £90,000 after border rules introduced in January has seen firms in the EU look elsewhere, particularly for perishable goods. Woodhall said he expected to turn the crop into compost instead. The government has said traders need to take advantage of new trade deals it is negotiating across the world.
568. Dover chaos: A meat haulier based in Lockerbie, Eardley International, who takes fresh meat from the UK into Europe, told the BBC they were experiencing delays of 20 to 25 hours to cross the Channel costing the business up to £800 per lorry. Director Graham Eardley explained, “Our products have a very short shelf life, if we load lamb in the UK on a Monday, we’d expect to deliver that product to Germany on a Tuesday. Now we are seeing delays of 20 to 25 hours to cross the Channel, and the quality and the sale value of that product falls by every hour it is delayed.”
567. Exporters: The number of UK businesses exporting goods to the EU fell 33% to 18,357 in 2021, from 27,321 in 2020, according to new data from HMRC published on 8 April, say City AM. Michelle Dale, a senior manager at accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, pointed out the fall is due to the extra red tape UK businesses must now comply with when exporting to the EU.
566. EU funding: The Financial Times has learned that the Shared Prosperity Fund due to be announced Wednesday, which will replace EU structural funding, will fall short of pre-Brexit promises that nations and regions would not be worse off. Johnson’s 2019 election manifesto promised that post-Brexit replacement funding would “at a minimum match the size” of EU funds in “each nation” of the UK. Documents show that England is set to receive almost 50% less than originally pledged, getting £1.56bn by 2024-25 instead of £3bn. The Welsh Government have already said that they are due to lose £1bn by 2024-25.
565. Farming: In a devastating new report, MPs on the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee concluded labour shortages, caused by Brexit and accentuated by the pandemic, have badly affected businesses across the food and farming sector. They say that if not resolved swiftly, the shortages threaten to shrink the sector permanently with a chain reaction of wage rises and price increases reducing competitiveness, leading to food production being exported abroad and increased imports.
564. Farming: According to Farmer’s Weekly, the decision by the EU at the end of last week to provide a €500m (£424m) emergency fund to directly subsidise farmers and the fertiliser industry is set to undercut UK food production. While many farmers agree that a move away from subsidies is the right idea in principle, unless the UK government follows the EU’s lead, it is now more likely than ever that production will be constrained here, unable to compete with food imported from the EU.
March 2022 ⇓
563. The Falklands: The Falklands government is complaining that Brexit has destroyed its overseas fish and meat exports. A spokesman is quoted saying, “While we continue to export fishery products to the EU, mainly squid, these exports are now less profitable”. The EU levies 6 to 18% tariffs on fishery products. It looks even more difficult for meat exports where the EU tariff is an average of 42% “The very high tariffs on our meat exports have resulted in the loss of the market as it is simply no longer profitable to export to the EU given the volumes we export”.
562. Trade: In the latest OBR Fiscal Outlook for March 2022, by the fourth quarter of 2021 total advanced economy trade volumes had rebounded to 3% above their pre-pandemic levels while UK exports remain around 12% below. The OBR say (page 63) that the UK therefore appears to have become a less trade intensive economy, with trade as a share of GDP falling 12% since 2019, two and a half times more than in any other G7 country. While Brexit is not mentioned specifically, it is difficult to see any other explanation for the uniquely precipitous fall in British trade.
561. Cycling: An article in The New European outlines the difficulties professional cyclists now encounter in gaining experience on the European tour after the end of freedom of movement. They are now limited to spending just 90 days in any 180 period on the continent. Last year, household names of the cycling world called for a robust solution to be in place by 2022. Unless an agreement is reached, they warned, “many riders [will] lose the opportunity to gain such critical experience”. There is said to be little confidence within the sport that Nadine Dorries, the new culture secretary, will successfully deliver a solution.
560. Bank transfers: Crédit Agricole, a French bank, has introduced a €5 charge for withdrawals made with UK-issued credit and debit cards and in addition, the bank recently started to imposed a new €18 flat fee on any bank transfers coming from Britain. It is expected that other European banks will introduce similar fees, according to various European media, including the magazine The Connexion.
559. Northern Ireland tourism: Non-Irish EU citizens crossing the land Border in Ireland will be required to apply online for pre-travel clearance – known as Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) – before entering the Northern Ireland. This comes as part the Nationalities and Borders Bill. A human rights group, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) condemned the move, which it said was “unworkable and risks a hard border for many non-British and non-Irish citizens in Border communities who have been able to freely cross the Border to date”.
558. Private equity: CVC Capital Partners, Europe’s largest private equity group, is planning to shun London and take its multi-billion-euro initial public offering to Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange, telling potential investors that it is aiming to set a €25bn target for its next private equity fund. The choice of Amsterdam over London, by a company that has its roots in the UK would be a blow to the London Stock Exchange. Britain has struggled to attract large and successful listings in the wake of its departure from the EU, which ended regulatory equivalence for financial services.
557. P&O Ferries: Contrary to reports, Brexit does not appear to have directly contributed to the fire and rehire policy at P&O Ferries. UK employment laws have not materially changed since leaving the EU. However, Sky News are reporting that Brexit has reduced UK-EU trade and traffic volumes are down, forcing P&O to re-examine its costs. The loss of the UK Land bridge to Irish traffic and the 32 new direct ferry services (see 318 below) between Ireland and the EU, operated by P&O’s competitors must also have had an effect on the company’s profitability.
556. Dover delays: Two hour delays at Dover are now said to to be the ‘new normal’ with lorry drivers reportedly furious, according to the Daily Express which campaigned for Brexit. Rod McKenzie, of the The Road Haulage Association, said: “when we left the European Union, we said goodbye to free-flowing trade between the relevant countries. It is inevitably the case, therefore, that there will be border checks and border delays.” Roads at Dover have suffered from significant clogging since January with Highways England reporting queues of up to six miles (10 km).
555. Trade deals: MPs on the public accounts committee have told the government that free trade agreements negotiated since Brexit may not provide any “actual economic benefits.” Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who deputy chairs the committee, said the department for international trade was “really struggling to point to tangible wins for British business, consumers or our own agriculture sector” from its programme of negotiations.
554. Microchips: The US Giant Intel have announced the first phase of plans to invest as much as 80 billion euros in the EU over the next decade along the entire semiconductor value chain – from research and development (R&D) to manufacturing. The plans cover an initial 17 billion euros for a semiconductor mega-site in Germany, a new R&D and design hub in France, and investment in R&D, manufacturing and foundry services in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. The UK was not mentioned. It is not known if Brexit played a part.
553. Trade: Latest ONS figures for January 2022 show total goods imports increased by £4.7bn (11%), because of a £4.7bn rise in imports from EU countries while non-EU imports remained flat. Total exports of goods, decreased by £2.5bn (8.7%) driven by a £3.0bn decrease in exports to EU countries while exports to non-EU countries increased by £0.6bn. The total UK trade deficit in goods and services widened by £8.6bn to £21.3bn in the three months to January 2022.
552. Fraud: The director of legal services at the Crown Prosecution Service has said Brexit has made tackling fraud “more difficult.” Mr Gregor McGill told a parliamentary justice committee that leaving the EU had created problems for police pursuing fraudsters overseas. The committee heard that about 25% of fraud cases involved only defendants from the UK, with the number of cases involving “foreign” defendants rising “considerably more”.
551. Fashion exports: Growing numbers of UK fashion brands and retailers have started to cut ties with EU wholesale stockists as bureaucracy, complex customs procedures, VAT and tariffs, coupled with wider cost pressures make trading with the EU unviable. In February, Joules issued a profit warning, citing increased freight costs and Brexit-related import duties that came into effect on 1 January 2021. To tackle these issues, the retailer is “significantly” reducing its stockist base of more than 1,700 accounts worldwide – by terminating arrangements with some small and medium-sized stockists and EU sales agents from autumn 2022.
550. Crash testing: UK women are to lose out over new EU crash-test rules designed to improve the safety of cars to take account of gender differences. Women are 50% more likely to be seriously injured than men if involved in a crash. A rule requiring new models to include frontal impact protection “which does not disadvantage women and older people,” will be enforced a from 6 July in the EU and Northern Ireland but there are no plans at present for GB to adopt it even though the Department for Transport (DfT) and British experts were involved in drawing it up as part of a package of 15 safety measures.
549. Exports: SMEs (Small and medium sized enterprises) employ 16.3 million people in the UK; the ones that export are 21% more productive than other UK businesses, yet still export less than their European counterparts, by as much as half compared to Germany and Denmark, or even a third of Slovenia’s efforts. Brexit and the pandemic have compounded the problem according to City AM. The last two years have been one of the most challenging periods on record with the value and quantity of UK SME goods exports falling, despite a brief rebound which followed an initial massive £5.6bn fall after the UK’s departure from the single market.
548. Japanese companies: A survey by Rudlin Consulting shows Brexit continues to be a top concern of Japanese companies in the UK, but less concerning than in 2020. Nearly 50% of Japanese firms in the UK see Brexit as having had a negative impact, rising to two thirds if looking at manufacturers alone. Nearly half of Japanese manufacturers in the UK were experiencing issues with exporting to the EU from the UK and around 35% were experiencing problems with importing from the EU to the UK.
547. Trade: A report by the UK Trade and Business Commission says British businesses are suffering because of new barriers to trade with the EU in all parts of the UK and that new trade deals have not made up for the costs imposed by these new barriers and may even exacerbate problems. Small firms and freelance workers are encountering particularly severe problems while NI businesses face specific difficulties. They conclude the government doesn’t appear yet to fully understand the scale, range and complexity of the issues involved.
546. Diverging standards: In February 2021, Brussels announced a ban on ten pesticides on imported fruit and vegetables and the UK was expected to follow suit. But now DEFRA says no decision has yet been made on whether Britain will follow the EU or continue to permit the chemicals on food. The pesticides have been banned by domestic farmers in both the UK or EU for some years, but were still allowed for imports from outside the bloc subject to “maximum residue levels” checked by border staff.
545. Humanitarian aid: Charity workers who are trying to send aid to people in Ukraine say their donations are spending days stuck at the Port of Dover due to complex post-Brexit checks. A Polish centre in Lewisham south London, said it had up to 5 tonnes of donations delayed due to confusion over paperwork. Three lorries were stuck at Dover for two days last week, with drivers initially sent away by border officials asking for additional paperwork despite being told the goods were for humanitarian purposes, not commercial use.
544. Australia free trade deal: The House of Commons library has published details of the FTA signed with Australia last December. The government confirms it will increase GDP by just 0.08% in the long term, compared with the 4% decrease caused by Brexit. It also concedes the agreement may have an adverse effect on three sectors: agriculture, forestry and fishing; semi-processed foods; and manufacture of other transport equipment. The impact assessment notes all these estimates are subject to considerable uncertainty.
543. Red tape: Sir Desmond Swayne, MP for New Forest West and supporter of the Leave Means Leave group, speaking in the Commons during a discussion about international trade, has described the fact that UK exporters now have to fill in forms to ship goods to the EU as “monstrous”. Mike Freer, a junior minister at the Department for International Trade said the government planned to improve border systems by 2025. This will not however, remove customs and veterinary checks on goods, which are required by EU law.
542. Farming: New data from the Farming Opinion Tracker shows that 68% of people who responded said they are “not at all confident” that the government’s new policies will lead to a successful future for farming in the country. The National Farming Union (NFU) said farmers have been left in an “untenable” position, with “very little detail” available about how the schemes will impact them and their businesses. NFU president Minette Batters called the government’s post-Brexit farming policies “completely contradictory” earlier this week.
541. Red tape: According to the FT, Britain’s leading business organisations report that members are tired and frustrated by the lived experience of Brexit. Mike Cherry, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says: “Small firms were promised that one upside of leaving the EU would be reduced red tape. They live in hope of delivery.” Other business groups like the British Chambers of Commerce, Make UK, the Construction Leadership Council and the Chemical Industries Association are also cited complaining that any benefits of Brexit are yet to be felt.
540. Delays at UK ports: So called ‘dwell-times’ at UK ports have doubled since last spring as Brexit red tape slows customs processes and global supply chains seize up. Shippers spent an average of more than seven days discharging at British ports last month. Data from the supply chain visibility platform FourKites shows UK port of discharge dwell times have risen strongly from a low of 3.6 day last April, while remaining steady across the rest of Europe. The figures also found a sharp decrease in the percentage of Europe-bound shipments passing through the UK.
February 2022 ⇓
539. Costs of Brexit: The FT report that ClearBorder, a training consultancy, has surveyed 150 mostly small companies and found that only a third of respondents were “very or somewhat confident” in the government’s ability to improve import and export procedures. A majority of companies are now holding more inventory, which consumes more working capital, and 38% said they had established a subsidiary in the EU to make the process smoother.
538. Customs duties: Figures from accountancy firm UHY Hacker show customs duties paid by UK businesses jumped 64% to a record £4.5bn in the year to 31 January 2022. The figures show that the last five months to 31 January 2022 are the five highest individual months on record for customs duties paid, with over £2.1bn paid in that period alone. Post-Brexit ‘Rules of Origin’ requirements mean anything sold in the UK by EU businesses must wholly or largely originate in the EU to be exempt from customs duties when it enters the UK.
537. Vets: The food and drink industry is demanding “urgent action” from the government to address a severe shortage of vets to process UK Export Health Certificates after Brexit. According to the FT, Industry groups have warned that a sharp decline in EU vets registering to work in the UK since Brexit, coupled with an immense increase in paperwork for exporters, was creating an “unsustainable” staffing squeeze.
536. Sugar: NFU Sugar has criticised the government’s decision to extend for another three years its 260,000 tonne tariff-free import quota for raw cane sugar produced in ways that would be illegal in the UK. Michael Sly, chair of NFU Sugar, warns the extension, coupled with the complete liberalisation of sugar in the UK-Australia trade deal, could lead to the permanent decline of the UK sugar beet industry. Sugar imports from Brazil alone have increased 217% year-on-year – a clear example of a country taking advantage of this quota to increase its sales to the UK.
535. Exports to Ireland: According to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), UK exports to Ireland fell by 13% in 2021 while those from Northern Ireland have surged by 65%. And while exports from Ireland to Great Britain grew by 17%, imports fell by 13%, from €17.7bn to €15.4bn. This is being attributed to the NI protocol which allows goods to move across the Irish border without the customs checks, which are now required out on shipments from Great Britain at Northern Irish ports instead.
534. Exports: Seven in ten UK firms say the government’s Brexit trade deal with the EU has been bad for business and held back growth, with a majority reporting it has pushed up costs and increased paperwork. A majority of the 1,000 companies polled by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also said the deal had put Britain at a competitive disadvantage. Just one in eight firms think the hard Brexit deal secured by Boris Johnson has had a positive impact on them, the BCC found.
533. Imports: Freight specialists are warning importers that they need to get ready for the changeover from the old CHIEF import/export IT system to the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS). There are doubts about HMRC’s capacity to migrate 5,000 importers to CDS within the deadline, now just six months away. They suggest the complexity of CDS will put some strain on supply chains as importers get accustomed to the need for more information – CHIEF calls for 54 data elements, in contrast to the 80 needed by CDS.
532. Beef: Farmers have been warned that Canada is pushing for hormone-treated beef to be made available across the UK once Britain joins the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). According to the National Farmers Union, the deal would “severely undermine British farmers” and lower the quality of meat sold across the UK.
531. Musicians: British bands wishing to tour Europe now need to list every instrument and piece of equipment individually and have them cleared by customs with no possibility to add further items without additional extra customs clearance. John Read, a musician with the British band ‘Project Blackbird’ says that the band’s European tour last summer was a bureaucratic nightmare. Moreover, because of restriction on cabotage British trucks cannot be loaded or unloaded in more than two locations within the EU.
530. Falling exports: Figures released by the ONS this week showed UK exports to the EU fell by £20bn in 2021, a 12% fall compared with 2018. Clothing (60%), vegetables (40%) and cars (25%) saw the biggest falls. Over the same period, exports to the rest of the world excluding the EU dropped by a much smaller £10bn, or about 6%. UK goods imported from the EU were down almost 17% (£45bn), compared with 2018. In comparison, imports from the rest of the world increased by almost 13% (28bn).
529. Energy security: The French energy regulator CRE has rejected an investment request for a 1,400MW undersea electrical interconnector cable citing doubts related to Brexit uncertainties. The project was granted the European Project of Common Interest (PCI) status in 2017 under the EU’s TEN-E Regulations governing PCI projects. However, since the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the TEN-E Regulation no longer applies in the UK. Therefore, both the energy regulators considered that it was no longer possible to take coordinated decisions on the request.
528. Channel ports. One of the UK’s leading logistics trade bodies has said that Channel ports such as Dover could “grind to a halt” for both traders and travellers this summer as the result of post-Brexit border controls. The warnings follow the publication on Wednesday of a highly critical House of Commons report (see 525 below) that accused the government of “over-promising” and failing to hit its own deadlines. Logistics UK, the trade body, said EU biometric border controls due to be introduced this year would create long delays unless EU and UK authorities worked together to resolve urgent issues with the new system.
527. The UK economy. David Smith, the economics editor of The Sunday Times, commenting on the Bank of England’s forecast of 1.25 per cent growth in 2023, followed by just 1 per cent growth in 2024, significantly lower than the eurozone, says we are living with, “the adverse fiscal consequences of leaving the EU [which has] left us with a budget hole that has had to be filled with higher taxes. We now have a high-tax economy strangled by red tape and hampered by trade restrictions.”
526. HGV drivers. In an article titled: HGV Hell, The Daily Express reports that lorry drivers have been told to “get used to queues of three or four hours at Dover as new Brexit checks are implemented.” The report said that the new checks, which came into force at the start of the year, are causing disruption in Dover, as well as in Calais with long queues of lorries regularly seen lining up along the A20 in Kent. The lorries are forced to line up, it said, due to the Dover Traffic Assessment Project (TAP) being implemented, which is a protocol designed to stop the town from being clogged with traffic.
525. Brexit costs. A new report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), has said it “was clear” that leaving the EU was having an impact on UK trade volumes and warned things could worsen this year as new import controls come in. PAC chair Meg Hillier said, “the only detectable impact so far is increased costs, paperwork and border delays.” The PAC also said it was concerned about what will happen when passenger traffic across the UK border returns to normal levels as the pandemic subsides.
524. Meat costs. The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) told POLITICO that their members are already paying out an additional £60 million a year to fill out the documents known as Export Health Certificates (EHC) needed to ship all animal products to the EU. Nick Allen, CEO of the BMPA said, “That’s before you look at the extra staff that we need to do it, it’s a massive extra cost to the industry.” Businesses have also taken on new IT systems to fill the paperwork, port charges and customs agents’ fees. The BMPA is warning that this will mean rising costs for imports from the bloc when similar checks will be required on imports starting in July.
523. Translations. With many languages spoken in the EU, formal, public documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates may need translation to be used in another member state or region. Before Brexit there was a cheap, simple EU procedure for this covered by Regulation (EU) 2016/1191. As of 1 January this was no longer available. UK citizens will need to obtain expensive bespoke translations done privately, without knowing if this will satisfy the requirements of the receiving country.
522. Air passengers compensation: The department of transport is consulting on a plan to overhaul passengers rights after delayed flights within the UK which could lead to “small amounts of compensation that often won’t be worth claiming”. Currently, someone on an internal flight from Edinburgh to London is entitled to £220 once their flight has been delayed three hours, unless there are extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather. New rules could see compensation reduced to as little as 25% of the ticket price.
521. Food prices: Retail experts say the surge in food prices will not be resolved quickly, with the full impact of Brexit yet to be seen. Figures last week show the price of food items rose by 2.7% in January, the highest rate in nine years. Retailers say while some are short term others are not. Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy at the Scottish Retail Consortium, said one issue was labour shortages in areas such as HGV drivers, distribution and farming. A surge in global commodity prices is being reflected in shopping baskets – sugar prices were up by 33% year-on-year in December, cereals increased by 20%, while meat and dairy rose by 17%.
520. Exports: The latest purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing is upbeat but remains below that of the eurozone. Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the index, says: “UK goods export growth has lagged that of the eurozone to a striking degree over the past year, with the last five months even seeing the UK battling with falling/stalled exports, underperforming all European peers.”
519. Dover: long queues of lorries on approach roads to Dover are being blamed on French customs demanding an ink (wet) signature on documents from an official veterinarian for imports of food and animal feed from the UK. While electronic certification would have been possible using an EU computer system, the UK turned down an offer from Brussels to use the platform and built its own system instead. William Bain, the head of trade policy at the BCC, said, “Like many of the problems this looks to be down to a differing interpretation of how the trade arrangements work after leaving the EU”.
518. Dover: The Dover Traffic Access Protocol (TAP) has been deployed again this morning (1 February) as the port continues to experience high volumes of HGVs. Kent Highways said TAP had been applied on the A20 at Aycliffe. The move was made to prevent port-bound traffic from disrupting the local road network and the A20 through Dover town. The Port of Dover said last week “Customers are asked to prepare accordingly and allow plenty of time for their journey during a period when several ferries being away on refit and external highway works have impacted operational capacity alongside more burdensome border control processes”.
517. Red tape getting worse: The British Chambers of Commerce say 60% of UK exporters it surveyed in November 2021 reported difficulties in trading with the EU, an increase from 49% in January 2021. William Bain, of the BCC, said freeing up the flow of goods and services into the EU is essential, adding: “No-one is expecting goods to flow as freely across the channel now as they did prior to Brexit. But the way the trade agreement is being interpreted in 27 different EU countries is a major headache for UK business, especially smaller firms without the cash reserves to set up new EU based arrangements.”
516. Trade: Figures from the German ifo Institute show the UK’s share of EU27 goods exports fell from 6.2% in 2019 to 5.2% in 2021, while its share of EU27 goods imports fell from 3.9% to 2.6% over the same period. “Some of the negative impact of Brexit on economic performance and trade already took place before the UK left the EU in 2020,” says Lisandra Flach, Director of the ifo Center for International Economics. The UK’s share of EU27 goods exports fell from 7.1% in 2015 to 6.2% in 2019. Its share of EU27 imports fell from 4.4% to 3.9% over the same period. More trade was then diverted away from the United Kingdom as the pandemic progressed, added the institute.
January 2022 ⇓
515. Worsening pig crisis: NFU president Minette Batters and National Pig Association chair Rob Mutimer have written a joint letter to DEFRA secretary, George Eustice, calling for an urgent summit to address labour and supply-chain concerns. The national pig herd has lost-one tenth of all sows over the last six months, farmers’ associations have revealed, after breeders were forced into a massive cull caused by a shortage of labour in abattoirs. They say measures introduced to support the industry have so far delivered “minimal benefit” to pig producers.
514. Arms sales: UK arms manufacturers have been hit by long delays in attempts to export weapons overseas because of Brexit red tape, a leading trade body has told MPs. The Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EMA) said some firms are “waiting for up to six months” for government licences to export into the EU – despite the target time for approval being two weeks. Jack Semple, director of policy at the alliance, told MPs on the international trade committee that the industry blames the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) for failing to anticipate time-consuming Brexit red tape.
513. Antibiotics: The UK risks falling behind in the drive to reduce the use of farm antibiotics after an EU ban came into force today (28 January) on the routine administration of antibiotics to groups of healthy animals. European farmers will only be permitted to use antibiotics as a preventive measure in exceptional cases when there is a high risk of infectious disease, and then only with individual animals. The UK government has said it will set out proposed regulatory changes as part of a public consultation during 2022.
512. Finance: EU banks could soon be able to lend more cheaply to British corporate entities than UK based rivals according to the FT. The EU’s banks are getting a helping hand because of the bloc’s decision to break with some of the final parts of Basel III, the globally agreed capital rules, allowing them to use less capital when making loans to corporates without a credit rating, reducing their lending costs. One senior executive at a large UK bank said, “There’s a risk . . . that BNP can lend to a load of higher quality UK corporates at cheaper rates than UK banks . . . Open markets only work if everybody is playing by global rules”.
511. Brexit costs: Avara Foods, a poultry supplier responsible for 20% of UK production has seen a fall in profits for the year ending May 2021 and have also announced the closure of their duck business. According to their annual report Brexit involved a “significant investment” in administration costs to manage the transition and enable it to continue to export fresh product to the EU. The company’s ongoing additional admin and logistics costs relating to Brexit are £2.5m a year.
510. Regional funding: A new analysis from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), PACE at Teesside University and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) shows the north is ‘set to lose out on £300m‘ as regional economic funding drops after Brexit. The European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and Local Growth Fund saw an annual £2.1bn spent in England, their post-Brexit replacements of the Shared Prosperity Fund and Levelling Up Fund will be worth just over £1.4bn.
509. Northern Ireland: Construction businesses in Northern Ireland are facing higher prices for some screws and bolts due to a trade dispute between the EU and China. The EU is due to start applying import duties of almost 90% on some Chinese products as an “anti-dumping” measure. This is when the EU determine a foreign company is exporting a product at a price lower than it normally charges on its home market. The NI protocol means the EU’s anti-dumping measures still apply in Northern Ireland.
508. Dover: The Unite union have told ITV that the queues of lorries outside Dover are a “direct consequence” of the introduction of additional border procedures at the beginning of the year. Hauliers now have to use the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS), a new IT portal, to obtain customs clearance at ports which Unite estimates is adding around 10 minutes to boarding times for every vehicle, causing severe delays. Adrian Jones, Unite’s national officer for road transport, said: “The fact the GVMS system has been in place for nearly a month is especially alarming because it suggests this is not initial teething problems but the new normal. Drivers fear the problems are only going to get worse, not better, as tourism returns to normal and trade picks up. Delays are only going to get longer.”
507. Welsh ports: Ian Davies, boss of Stena Line’s UK ports has said Holyhead and Fishguard saw a 30% drop in traffic in 2021 because of the new post-Brexit trading relationship with the European Union rather than the pandemic. Freight volumes across the Irish sea were roughly the same but Irish hauliers were shunning the so-called land bridge and opting instead for the slower and more expensive direct sea routes to avoid new post-brexit checks and paperwork.
506. Australian Wine: Australian wine producers are complaining that any benefits from a post-Brexit trade deal will be more than wiped out by proposed changes to UK taxes on alcohol. Industry lobby group Australian Grape and Wine estimates that the tax hikes will cost an additional £70m, adding 40p to the price of every £5 bottle of the country’s drink bought by British consumers. This compares to a forecast £26m gain from the trade deal.
505. Alcohol duty: The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is urging its members to oppose the government’s alcohol duty reforms which are being introduced after Brexit. They say the chancellor’s plans will increase duty overall by some £250m a year with spirits paying the highest rates. The WSTA claim it is not “economically rational to differentiate duty rates on the strength of product as sold.”
504. Intellectual property: The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), in written evidence to a House of Lords committee last year, have estimated that the financial impact of UK attorneys losing the right to represent clients at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is likely to be between £789million and £1.7bn per year. Currently, UK practitioners no longer have a right of representation at the EU Intellectual Property Office which is limited to those within the EEA although EEA practitioners will continue to have a right to represent their clients at the UK IPO.
503. Dover: The boss of the Port of Dover is calling for urgent talks over plans for biometric checks at the port. CEO Doug Bannister, said the proposed biometric checks were “unsafe” adding, “As currently designed, the biometric checks work well at an airport or a rail terminal, but they’re not designed for a busy roll-on, roll-off ferry terminal”. Transport select committee chair Huw Merriman echoed those concerns and described potential delays as a “disaster” for Kent. Merriman said, “That per-vehicle movement will end up causing a 17-mile delay back into Kent and that would be a disaster for the local economy and a disaster for trade as well”.
502. Clearing: Brussels is planning to extend its temporary permit allowing European banks and fund managers to use UK clearing houses until June 2025. But, Mairead McGuinness, European commissioner for financial services, told a meeting of Ecofin, the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council, on Tuesday that the commission would shortly begin consultations which will “feed into a strategy on clearing to reduce in the medium term our over-reliance on UK [clearing houses],” Many are unhappy about the financial stability risks to the bloc from €83trillion of open Euro derivatives contracts being cleared in a market that is not in its direct oversight.
501. Channel migrants: Amid criticism of plans for the armed forces to take over Channel operations to limit migration, it has emerged that over the past two weeks, 773 people have reached the UK by boat – which is more than the total for the first two months of last year. The total number of migrants who made the crossing in 2021 was treble that of 2020. Defence minister James Heappey told MPs intercepted asylum seekers could not be returned to France without French permission, which has not been given.
500. Irish banks: Brexit has boosted Ireland’s international banking sector, increasing their balance sheets and moving the sector up the international and EU rankings. A new report, Supporting Ireland’s Success – The Contribution of International Banking, published by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and its affiliate the Federation of International Banks in Ireland (FIBI) found Brexit was a key driver of change in the sector here, with the expansion of the banks in the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU adding €200bn to their balance sheets between 2015 and July 2021.
499. Exports to Ireland: The latest numbers from Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the value of goods imported from Britain fell by almost £2.75bn from January to November last year. The drop in imports comes as cross-border trade continues to rise. Exports from NI to the Republic jumped by more than 64% while exports from Ireland to NI also rose by more than 50%.
498. UK Economy: Nearly one in three businesses fear their company will close before the end of this year, primarily as the long-term effects of Brexit start to bite, according to data shared with City AM. 37%, don’t think their business will survive until the end of 2027, as more than half (54%) of UK business owners indicated they found 2021 to be a more challenging year than 2020. Brexit continues to be a real obstacle, with 73% of those taking part in a countrywide-survey by One World Express saying their business has seen zero benefit from the UK’s departure from the EU.
497. Customs delays: The Daily Express report that HGV drivers are having to queue for up to eight hours waiting to get through customs checks at Calais “red tape chaos” affect deliveries. It comes as new rules came into force this month with experts blaming the problem on government IT systems. Jon Swallow from logistics company Jordan Freight told The Independent: “We’ve been told by HMRC that they are just too busy to deal with it. These delays are very frustrating and costly for companies.”
496. The economy: A survey by Make UK (formerly the Engineering Employers Federation) of 228 companies found two thirds believed that Brexit had moderately or significantly hampered their business, with over a half of companies (56%) fearing a further impact this year from customs delays due to import checks and changes in product labelling.
495. Skills: Experts have told City AM that UK firms lack the skills and expertise to handle the increase in customs declarations. Their warning is underpinned by the Institute of Export & International Trade, saying it reported a 379% increase in enquiries to its technical helpline last week. The changes are predicted to increase custom declarations by a factor of five – a worrying rise from 55m to 270m, according to trade consortium Digital Trader Service.
494. Emissions trading: UK businesses are paying 10% more than their EU counterparts to trade their emissions following Brexit as a result of the government’s refusal to link the UK carbon market to the EU’s. Post Brexit, prices have hiked because the UK carbon market is significantly smaller than the EU one and doesn’t have enough liquidity in its emission trading scheme to cover all industrial sectors. “UK companies are paying substantially more than they are in the EU. The big problem for the UK market is liquidity, and the fact that it is new”, says Tom Lord, head of trading at carbon risk management company Redshaw Advisors.
493. Farm payments: The “blind optimism” shown by government ministers in plans for the future of England’s farms could result in many small and tenant farmers being forced out of business, a parliamentary report has warned. The end result of encouraging farmers to free up land for environmental purposes – such as woodland – is likely to be that England ends up importing more of its food, often from countries with worse environmental standards than Britain, said the report from the cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
492. Alcohol duty reforms: A shake-up of alcohol duties touted by Boris Johnson as one of the key benefits of Brexit has sparked fury among the UK’s wine trade, who warn it will force up prices for consumers, sow confusion in shops and create “unworkable” levels of new red tape. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) told The Independent there were fears that some of the UK’s 1,000 independent wine merchants could fold under the burden of extra bureaucracy and expense.
491. The economy: The British Chambers of Commerce have surveyed almost 5,500 firms, revealing that they are running low on cash and have ditched investment plans to stay afloat into the new year. Suren Thiru, the BCC’s head of economics, said sales growth stalled as firms struggled with the “mounting headwinds” of inflation, a scarcity of skilled workers, and problems sourcing products from overseas. The persistent weakness in cash flow is troubling because it leaves businesses more exposed to the economic impact of Omicron, rising inflation and potential further restrictions”, he said.
490. Shortages: Shoppers are reporting supply problems that have led to empty supermarket shelves around the UK for the second time in six months. Fresh fruit and veg and cold goods are particularly in short supply. Many people are blaming Brexit but others say it is down to soaring numbers of workers self-isolating because of Covid. Long queues of lorries formed in Calais on Thursday as new import controls on goods from the EU began to bite after they came into effect on 1 January.
489. Irish customs: The Irish Revenue’s annual report has confirmed the massive increase in red tape now involved in trade with Britain with €215m of customs duty collected on imports from Britain last year, even before the full impact of Brexit comes into force. That’s equal to nearly half the €526m total of customs duty collected on goods from all other non-EU markets combined last year and helps explain why goods imports into Ireland from the UK as a whole have plummeted by 45% in the past year, while imports from Northern Ireland doubled.
488. Students: According to reports on visas from the Home Office, the number of EU students from Poland and Romania fell below 700 in the year 2021 up to October. UCAS statistics show that there were only around 1,100 undergraduate students from the two countries enrolled in UK universities in 2021, compared to almost 6,000 in 2020. In 2019 there were more than 8,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students from Poland and Romania according to the HE Statistics Agency.
487. Stock Market: The UK stock market has underperformed other leading equity markets for six years, according to The Times, reflecting persistently weak corporate earnings growth compared to other major economies and global investor wariness of all British assets. As a result, UK stocks trade on a multiple of just 14 times expected 2022 earnings, compared to an average multiple of 16 times for eurozone stocks and 21 times for US stocks. Euro Stoxx index of leading European shares was up 22.5%, its second-best performance since 2009, driven by a 29.2% rise in France’s CAC 40 index and a 23% rise in the FTSE MIB index of Italian shares. The FTSE 100 ended up 14.3%.
486. Beef: British farmers have criticised Asda’s decision to backtrack on its promise to sell only British beef. The retailer said the U-turn was the result of higher beef prices, and it would now sell both Irish and British-produced beef in its stores. The move comes just over a year after the supermarket chain, under its new owners the Issa brothers, made a pledge to source 100% British beef. Neil Shand, the chief executive of industry body the National Beef Association (NBA), said he was “very disappointed that Asda wasn’t able to continue its commitment beyond two months.”
485. Confectionery: David Hill, MD of Cocoda, an exporting broker for the chocolate, biscuit and confectionery sectors says “The past two years have been hideous for two major reasons: Brexit and COVID.“ Hill suggests the problems created by Brexit have been exacerbated by the pandemic and although there is some cross over, the main difference is that covid-related challenges should evaporate with the virus, whereas Brexit-induced issues are more prolonged. In the first nine months of 2021, overall sales of UK food and drink were down £2.7bn compared to pre-COVID levels, mainly because of a sharp drop in sales to the EU. Germany, Italy and Spain were the worst-hit markets.
484. Music tours: Just one of the 27 EU member states has agreed a deal to rescue post-Brexit music tours. Despite the prime minister’s pledge made under pressure nine months ago – only Spain has signed an agreement since, leaving artists drowning in expensive “mountains of red tape”. The Incorporated Society of Musicians is now urging Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary and new Brexit minister, to reject the hardline approach of her predecessor, David Frost, which failed to make “progress”.
483. Share trading: Amsterdam ended 2021 as Europe’s top share trading venue, holding its lead over London despite efforts by the British financial centre to make its equity markets more attractive after Brexit. Figures from Cboe Global Markets show that average daily trading in Amsterdam last month totalled 8.97bn euros ($10.15bn), ahead of London’s 8.32bn euros.
482. Domain names: Nearly 50,000 internet domain names belonging to UK businesses and citizens have been taken down this week following the revocation of their .eu domain names. Impacted sites include the pro-Brexit site Leave.eu, which now displays: “This site can’t be reached.” UK based owners of .eu domains needed to show their eligibility for an EU domain, by either being citizens or residents of the EU, or be an organisation established within the bloc.
481. Finance: The City of London’s policy chief said on Wednesday that Covid-19 may be masking some of the impact of leaving the EU. Britain’s financial sector lost most of its access to the EU, its single biggest export customer, a year ago. Catherine McGuinness, policy chief for the ‘Square Mile’ financial district told Reuters, “We are certainly not at a new normal. We need to put Brexit behind us. What really matters now is maintaining our competitive edge in future,” adding, “It’s not a given that people will want to come to London.”
480. ‘Expats’: The Daily Express report that British expats who want to live in Spain without working will now have to prove they have over £23,000 in their bank accounts and apply for a visa. After Brexit, UK citizens too who want to live on sunny Spanish shores will be able to apply for non-lucrative visas for five years before obtaining permanent residency but will have to prove they can sustain themselves in Spain without a job for the first year of residence.
479. Trade: UK traders are falling foul of a new IT system policing goods crossing the English Channel, as companies grapple with a fresh wave of post-Brexit red tape. “We’ve got a whole bunch of lorries that aren’t clearing because something isn’t working, and it’s not incompetence on our part,” said Steve Cock, director of customs consultancy at The Customs House who has had freight waiting to enter Britain since New Year’s Day. “It’s going to cheese off a lot of people and have a lot of additional charges for vehicles that aren’t getting to the UK” Japanese car maker Honda is among companies that have seen cargoes hit so far.
478. Poultry: In the run up to Christmas, EU workers looking to come to the UK to work in the poultry industry could apply for a seasonal worker visa. These visas ran out on 31 December 31 2021, resulting in companies like Traditional Norfolk Poultry facing a scarcity of labour. MD Mark Gorton revealed that “Covid is just making it worse”. He revealed that 5-10% of his workforce is off due to Covid and that it is making it “difficult” to maintain efficient production lines.
477. Oranges: Oranges grown in Spain for sale in UK supermarkets are imported by G’s Fresh in Ely. The company brings in 400 lorry-loads of produce a week but the new post-Brexit rules are making the process more difficult. The forms for each shipment taking as long as four hours to complete. Kuldip Kular of G’s said: “If it goes wrong, that could easily be delayed by one or two days which then has an impact on availability on the shelves here and also on the freshness of the product.”
476. UK Economy: A survey of almost 100 economists by the FT suggests the UK will trail other developed countries in its economic recovery from the pandemic in 2022, held back by political uncertainty and the lingering after-effects of Brexit. A majority said that UK living standards would worsen in the year ahead, with poorer households hit hardest by soaring inflation and higher taxes.
475. Small businesses: According to the Federation of Small Businesses, up to 440,000 firms may be forced out of business by a late payment crisis. Their survey of 1,200 companies reveals a sector facing battles on almost every front, including new customs checks on imports from the EU and a looming energy cost crisis. “Today, it’s a fresh wave of admin for importers and exporters – in three months’ time it will be a hike to the jobs tax, that is national insurance contributions, a rise in dividend taxation, business rates bills and an increase in the national living wage. On top of that, operating costs are surging.”
474. Beer: Joe Ross, owner of the popular Staggeringly Good brewery in Portsmouth, which was thriving with sales to the EU before Brexit, has been hit hard with a drop of 70% in exports – with many former customers now buying from America via air freight which is cheaper than shipping across the Channel. Before Brexit, shipping would cost £180 but has now rocketed to £600, while paperwork for transactions have been described as a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’.
473. Corporate takeovers: Global law firm Mayer Brown reports that “the number of UK businesses acquired by US private equity houses has jumped 75 per cent this year”. Mayer Brown said the relatively depressed valuations of UK companies versus their European peers has made them particularly good value for US-based private equity funds. With slower economic growth and broader Brexit uncertainty in the UK, sterling has fallen sharply against both the dollar and the Euro, which has made deals more attractive for overseas buyers.
472. Wine: EU winemakers have been preparing for new border bureaucracy in 2022. Audrey Dokie, a manager at the Louis Moreau estate in Burgundy, exports Chablis around the world, but the UK is its biggest market. “We do know that next year it’s going to get much more difficult in terms of the extra details that will be required on each label.” Louis Moreau are a very experienced exporter but Dokie adds, “For much smaller winemakers it might be harder”.
471. Steel: A British manufacturer of cast iron is moving some of its production to a factory in Spain in order to avoid the 25% tariff due on UK production and payable from 1 January. United Cast Bar Limited (UCB), in Chesterfield also have a Spanish plant and MD James Brand says, “60 per cent of the products we can make here we can also make in Spain, and our customers don’t want that extra 25 per cent cost”.
470. Fishing. A Scottish business owner has told how a year of the “nightmare” of Brexit has left his firm struggling to survive. Jamie McMillan, MD of Loch Fyne Seafarms, lost 60 per cent of his market after crippling costs forced him to stop selling premium shellfish to Europe. Staff numbers have been reduced from 22 to 13. “Our worst fears over Brexit have become just a nightmare. It was even worse than what we could ever imagine it to be,” he told the Sunday National.
469. Red tape: Many British businesses may “give up importing” as a result of new strict rules that have come into force on 1 January, a former senior civil servant in charge of Brexit planning has warned. Philip Rycroft, who was permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) between 2017 and 2019, said with the introduction of new barriers to trade with the bloc, Rycroft said businesses may decide it “is simply not worth the hassle”.
468. Coffee: The Decadent Decaf Coffee company, in an email to clients seen by Yorkshire Bylines has announced a pause to all deliveries to the EU due to “the additional paperwork burden required as well as higher costs + failed deliveries due to inconsistent customs policies.” They added that for a small business there was too much “work, hassle and risk”.
467. Trucks: Residents of villages in Kent say since the 66-acre Sevington Inland Border Facility (IBF) opened almost a year ago, countless HGV drivers have been losing their way in Mersham and Sevington, blocking roads and tearing up verges. A year after Brexit, truckers are still getting confused because of a lack of proper signs and outdated information.
466. Food importers: Britain’s small businesses should expect trade with the EU to be “permanently damaged” from 1 January, according to a supply chain trade body, after new customs checks take effect that it says will make imports from the bloc “more expensive, less flexible and much slower”. Shane Brennan CEO of the Cold Chain Federation said speciality food imports could face the same 70% decline that affected exports of food by small businesses this year after Britain quit the EU single market and customs union.
465. Whisky: 2021 has been a difficult year for the Scotch Whisky industry. As well as dealing with difficulties in shipping, each EU country can now ask for different information to be printed on labels and for different paperwork to get goods through customs. Graeme Littlejohn, director of strategy and communications at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Before [Brexit] it was just the EU we needed to comply with, but now every market is free to pick and choose what they want on the label, which means we are having to produce different labels for different markets.”
464. Food supplies: Food supplies face further disruption from 1 January due to a “medieval” government IT system that is still not yet ready to process post-Brexit paperwork, The Independent claims. Problems primarily affect shipments of fruit, vegetables and plants, with importers also experiencing difficulty logging details of animal products. It comes at the worst time for the UK, which imports half of all of its food during the winter months, mostly from the EU.
463. Ports: Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany ferries – which operates in Portsmouth – said there is a ‘lack of a level playing field’ as some ports are receiving more public-sector funding than others. He said: “All of the government’s focus has been on Dover, ensuring that the facilities there work well, and funding those facilities potentially to the detriment economically and operationally of ports like Portsmouth.” He explained the private sector has had to partially fund similar facilities at smaller ports such as Portsmouth.
462. Holidays: A woman who planned to spend New Year’s Eve on Tenerife now faces losing nearly £2,000 after being forced to cancel the holiday at the last minute after she was turned away from the flight. Aya Shillingford, 36, said she was “devastated” after staff escorted her from her Jet2 flight to Tenerife on Thursday morning after finding her passport had been issued over ten years ago – meaning she could not travel to the EU under new post-Brexit guidelines.
December 2021 ⇓
461. The City: Many European financial services firms are apparently not interested in continuing to be authorised in the City. Only half of EU firms that were given a temporary license to operate in the UK immediately after Brexit have applied for full authorisation, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. The City watchdog, the FCA, set up a temporary license regime in the months before Brexit, in order to give EU-based firms the opportunity to continue trading in the City but only 39 out of 72 firms that were expected to apply actually did so.
460. Food supply chain: The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) has warned that new border controls on plant and animal products imported from the EU may see delays in ports when new customs rules come into force in the New Year. BFFF chief Richard Harrow has said that “Whilst the new UK rules will be introduced in stages, we are concerned that not enough planning has been done to ensure the new requirements are understood by everyone in the food supply chain”.
459. English teachers: Remote video working is helping to offset a sharp fall in demand for Brits teaching English in mainland Europe in the wake of Brexit, a key industry player has revealed. However, Jennifer MacKenzie, co-founder of Teaching English as a Foreign Language, said it also means UK citizens are now competing with a saturated market of teachers from the likes of Canada and Australia.
458. Steel: The UK steel industry is braced for an immediate slump in trade from New Year’s Day when EU rivals will gain a 25% price advantage selling to the giant US market. The EU and the US reached an agreement to remove tariffs on a quota of steel and aluminium imported from the bloc into the US from 1 January, but tariffs will remain on all UK steel and aluminium exports amid reports that the US is holding back over the UK’s threats to unilaterally change post-Brexit trading rules governing Northern Ireland.
457. Cheese: A British cheesemaker has described the post-Brexit EU trade deal as the “biggest disaster that any government has ever negotiated in the history of trade negotiations”. Simon Spurrell, the co-founder of the Cheshire Cheese Company, said personal advice from a government minister to pursue non-EU markets to compensate for his losses had proved to be “an expensive joke”. The company has lost its entire wholesale and retail business in the bloc over the past year.
456. Golf: Donald Trump’s Scottish golf resorts have been hit by Brexit staff shortages. Accounts signed by director Eric Trump, say: “Brexit has also impacted our business as supply chains have been impacted by availability of drivers and staff, reducing deliveries and availability of certain product lines.” The filing also says prices have increased due to import duty charges and wage inflation as retail and logistics sectors increase wages to attract staff.
455. Disabled badge holders: British disability blue badges are no longer being recognised in major holiday destinations across Europe thanks to Brexit, the government has admitted. Automatic recognition for Britain’s 2.4 million blue badge holders – a perk of EU membership – stopped across Europe on 31 December 2020 when the EU transition period ended and although ministers promised to negotiate individual deals with EU countries to recognise British badges, a year on they have still failed to do so for the most popular destinations including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal.
454. Brexit: The first year of Brexit has left most voters dissatisfied. More than six out of ten believe Brexit has either gone badly or worse than they expected. Overall, just 14% of all voters said Brexit had gone better than expected. The Opinium survey – coming a week after the minister in charge of Brexit, Lord Frost, resigned from Boris Johnson’s government – also found that 42% of people who voted Leave in 2016 had a negative view of how Brexit had turned out so far.
453. Care workers: On Christmas Eve the government announced that care workers are to be added to the shortage occupation list, after figures showed more than 40,000 social care staff had left the sector in the past six months. The scheme is designed to help migrants get work visas to fill jobs where there are shortages. It follows warnings the sector faced “severe and increasing” problems with hiring and keeping staff after Brexit. Social care workers, care assistants and home care workers are to become eligible for a health and care visa for a 12-month period.
452. Farm workers: Again on Christmas Eve the government extended the seasonal farm work visa scheme until 2024 following farmers’ complaints about post-Brexit labour shortages. The industry has previously warned of the impact of Brexit on food security and previously accused the government of failing to listen to its concerns. The Home Office has previously been reluctant to increase the number of visas allocated to seasonal workers.
451. Fishing: June Mummery job, told The Daily Express that Boris Johnson has “betrayed the fishing industry and coastal communities”. The former Brexit Party MEP continued: “I thought we would take back control. We would rebuild our coastal communities.” Mummery, who campaigned with the pro-Brexit group Fishing for Leave, went on to add how she does not see any positives going into next year and said the UK still has “four more years of this. I do not see any positives going into 2022”.
450. Champagne: The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has released a joint statement to warn UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that the country will run short of wines and spirits this month due to a lack of HGV drivers. The letter was signed by 48 members including major players Moët Hennessy, Pernod Ricard, the Wine Society and wholesaler Matthew Clark, urging the government to extend the temporary visa programme. Henry Butler of Butlers Wine Cellar in Brighton said, “A pallet of Champagne used to cost about £165 to ship from France but this year it cost £265. The only difference was a line at the bottom of the invoice saying ‘Brexit admin fee”.
449. Trade: When lorries rolled off the Stena Horizon ferry on Cherbourg last Wednesday, the port recorded its 100,000th trailer from Ireland in 202 – a figure three times higher than 2019 and 2020. As is well documented, the huge rise is a result of post-Brexit freight patterns. According to France Blue, all of the main operators on routes between Ireland and Cherbourg, Stena Line, Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries, have seen their freight volumes on these routes triple in response to the post-Brexit demand.
448. Price rises: Simon Sutcliffe, a partner at tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg, believes delays in implementing the full impact of the post-Brexit customs laws – known as rules of origin – have “softened the impact” of the UK’s exit from the European Union, and that “things will get worse” when they are finally brought in from January 2022. “The longer and more costly process would lead to higher costs for the consumer as things become more time-critical and agents have to work harder to clear goods on arrival, and not relying on that six-month breathing space. This means that customs agents will raise their prices which will be passed on” he said.
447. Trade: New data released from a survey of 981 businesses by the British Chambers of Commerce has demonstrated the impact of the UK-EU trade deal (TCA). The figures show rises in the proportion of firms reporting difficulties with the various changes brought about to UK-EU trade compared to when the BCC last asked the same questions in January. Of UK exporters, for buying and selling goods, 60% faced difficulties; for buying and selling services, 30%; for moving people, 24%; and for transferring data, 11%.
446. Car Makers: UK car production in November hit its lowest level since 1984, falling 28% as covid continued to affect supply chains, a motoring industry group has said. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) call the figures “incredibly worrying”, blaming a continuing shortage of semiconductors. The start of full Brexit customs controls could also hit firms, it said. SMMT boss Mike Hawes added the industry was as prepared as it could be for the start of full EU customs checks from 1 January, but warned any delays arising “from ill-prepared freight or systems will place further stress on businesses”.
445. Trade: Faisal Islam, the BBC’s economics editor, has reviewed UK-EU trade after one year of Brexit with small business owners. He concludes that “the UK economy appears to be less open or less global than it was before”. The owners he spoke to reflected on different aspects of the reality of one year of trading outside the single market and customs union. It’s clearly been challenging: “Frustrating. Scary. Huge drop in sales. Rendered uncompetitive in Europe.”
444. Scotland: Some of Scotland’s most important exports have seen costly reductions in sales to other countries, research has revealed. Analysis conducted by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) showed that Scotland’s whisky and salmon exports were down by 11% and 6.4% respectively since 2019. The SNP said the figures showed the “harsh reality of Brexit” as they accused Boris Johnson of “inflicting damage on Scotland against its will”.
443. Horizon: Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust has urged the government not to abandon talks about UK participation in the EU’s Horizon Europe, a €100bn research programme. He told BBC News that being cut out of EU research would “greatly disadvantage” British science. Agreement in principle was reached, but UK involvement is now a bargaining chip in talks over Northern Ireland. In response the Science Minister, George Freeman, has said the UK is ready to set up its own scheme.
442. Trade: Newly revised-down figures for third quarter GDP shows the UK’s industrial sector struggled under the twin pressures of Brexit and global raw material shortages according to The Guardian. Trade figures show an 8.8% fall in goods exports from July to the end of September, at a time when global trade was booming as coronavirus restrictions had eased. The ONS said business investment fell by 2.5% in the third quarter meaning investment across businesses large and small remains 11.7% below that in the fourth quarter of 2019.
441. HGV Drivers: The government scheme to bring 4,700 HGV drivers over on a temporary three-month visa has attracted approximately 200 drivers in total and is now closed to new applicants, according to Home Office migration minister Kevin Foster. Appearing before the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee last week Foster told MPs that “around 200 visas” had been issued.
440. Fishing: UK Fisheries, owners of the UK’s biggest trawler The Kirkella, have described a new government deal with Norway to win back fishing rights following Brexit as “too little, too late” and say they are “absolutely devastated for the crew” as the new quotas offered just one week’s work. The Kirkella has been laid up at its base in Hull since December 2020. The self-employed, 30-strong crew were paid per trip and have been “sold down the road”, according to first mate Charlie Waddy.
439. Australia trade deal: The post-Brexit trade deal signed with Australia last week will see British agriculture, forestry and fishing take a £94m hit, the government’s own impact assessment (IA) shows. There is also an expected £225m hit to the semi-processed food sector, which includes tinned products, as part of a “reallocation of resources within the economy”. The IA refers to Australia as a “large, competitive producer of agricultural products”, making clear the “potential for the deal to result in lower output for some agricultural sectors [in the UK] as a result”.
438. Welsh farming: Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts says Brexit has restricted access to their main farming export markets on the Continent in ways which are only just beginning to be felt. Meanwhile, UK government cuts to Welsh rural funding – in direct contradiction to promises made repeatedly by those who advocated Brexit – have added to the pressures on Welsh agriculture, the rural economy and Welsh government, he said. The FUW have made no secret about how they regard the prospect of liberal trade deals with countries such as New Zealand and Australia and have regularly raised concerns.
437. Stormont: According to Northern Ireland Finance Minister Conor Murphy, the power sharing executive is more than £100m short as a direct result of Brexit. Only around a fifth of the £70m expected to replace European Union Structural Funds is being received and cash allocated by the Executive to the Department for the Economy to maintain European Social Fund and Regional Development Fund programmes will not prove possible again.
436. Scotland: James Cook, Chief News Correspondent for The Nine programme on BBC Scotland catalogues the impact of Brexit on a number of Scottish food and restaurant businesses. The issues include Labour and product shortages, struggles to obtain stocks, higher customs charges and lower profits. Anna Christopherson, a restaurant owner in Edinburgh saw her chain, Boda Bars, struggling to pay rent and bills. “It’s been horrendous,” she said, “Brexit has been massive, we’re going to see that for the rest of our lives, I think”.
435. CE Marking: In a blow to government plans to develop a UK standards regime, a survey of 1,000 businesses by the British Chambers of Commerce shows just 8% of UK exporters want to drop the European CE marking system on 1 January 2023, according to the FT. Some 59% of BCC members that rely on the quality assurance marks to place products on the market said that they favoured a return to recognising the CE mark and “are not persuaded by the case for ditching CE marking in Great Britain”.
434. Irish market: Brexit has driven a sharp decline in trade between Ireland and Britain this year but the drop has been largely offset by an increase in cross-border trade, according to fresh analysis by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Irish Department of Finance. Over 40% of Ireland’s imports from the United Kingdom overall came from Northern Ireland in the first half of 2021 — up from just 6% in 2015 while imports from Britain represented just 7.2% of total Irish imports in the first half of 2021, down from 23% in 2015. Irish exports to GB have fallen from nearly 11% of overall Irish exports in 2015 to just over 6% total in the first six months of the year.
433. Daffodils: Millions of daffodil stems will be left to rot in the fields this spring, as Cornish growers face a critical labour shortage that they fear could spell the end of the entire industry. Some expect up to 75% of their crop will be left unpicked. Last season around 275 million stems were left in the ground and this coming season looks set to be even more challenging. James Hosking, of Fentongollan Farm, near Truro said, “If we can’t recruit more pickers, there won’t be a daffodil industry left. The situation is very grim”.
432. French traders: French market traders operating the Norman Market in St Helier, Jersey are running an ‘everything-must-go’ clearance of their food – because Brexit restrictions mean they cannot take it home. Christine Bonhomme, director of Maison de Normandie, the organisation that helped bring the market to the Island, said the issue had sprung from a change in administrative procedures after Brexit came into force earlier this year
431. Trade deals: The Trade Justice Movement has criticised the government’s free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia, a country they say which is well-known for its lack of action on climate change. A 2021 report put it last of 193 UN member countries on sustainable development. TJM say the FTA impact assessment acknowledges that increasing bilateral trade will lead to a 31-40% increase in annual greenhouse gas emissions associated with transport of UK-Australia trade and “is likely to increase beef exports to the UK, one of the drivers of deforestation in Australia”.
430. Irish border tensions: News that the UK government has dropped its demands for removal of the role of the ECJ from the Northern Ireland has elicited a furious response from Lord Dodds, the former deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. He issued a veiled threat of “action” unless the UK restores the option of pulling the plug on the Northern Ireland protocol by using the article 16 process.
429. Immigration: The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) has launched a lawsuit against the Home Office for breaching the terms of the withdrawal agreement (WA). The IMA claim EU citizens will lose their rights to live in the UK if they don’t convert their pre-settled status to settled status within five years of being granted status. The pressure group, The3million, warned the IMA in February that the UK’s settlement scheme for EU citizens was incompatible with the terms of the WA.
428. Chemicals: Environmental groups are warning that the government’s proposed post-Brexit chemicals regime to replace the EU REACH system puts UK safety standards at risk, according to the FT. The groups say that the UK will rely in part on voluntary submissions from industry which could allow dangerous chemicals to “fall through the cracks”, creating a “major weakening” of the UK’s safety regime compared to EU membership, and risk the UK being a “dumping ground” for hazardous substances.
427. Food exports: The Food and Drink Exporters Association have reported exports down 4.1% in the nine months to the end of September – a loss of £2.7bn – driven largely by a fall in EU exports of 13.9% compared to 2020 and 23.7% compared to 2019. Exports to Ireland, Germany, Italy and Spain were particularly badly hit, continuing the trend seen over the last four years. Exports to Ireland, the UK’s biggest overseas market, fell 21.2% compared to 2020 and 25.1% compared to 2019 – a loss of nearly £0.75bn in sales.
426. Van drivers: Drivers of light vans wishing to enter the EU, EEA or Switzerland after May 2022 will need to have a “goods vehicle operator licence.” The licence will cost van drivers up to £1,100, a significant burden for solo operators, industry leaders said. Drivers will also have to pay £257 in an application fee and a further £401 for the licence. Another £401 “continuation fee” will be payable every five years to retain the licence, according to gov.uk.
425. Agriculture: Neil Parish, Tory chair of the Commons environment committee, has warned Brexit is “destroying” British agriculture, and he condemned immigration minister Kevin Foster for ignoring a recommendation to make it easier to bring in EU butchers and other workers – leading to a huge shortage. Parish warned that planting of vegetables was down 25% and poultry production by 12.5%, since Brexit. He said, “I thought Brexit was about encouraging production in this country, not discouraging it. This is down to labour shortages”.
424. Asylum seekers: The UK’s withdrawal from the Dublin System and the EU’s common European asylum system means that the UK can no longer return applicants to EU member states, adding another “layer of desirability” to the UK as a destination for asylum seekers according to the think tank UK in Changing Europe. As of November 2021, the UK has seen a 20% increase of asylum applications (in comparison to 2020), with the Channel crossings becoming the main route, as three times more people crossed the Channel in small boats
423. Trade: The Daily Express report that Ireland has opened a new goods terminal in Dunkirk as a gateway to Europe. Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO at the Dublin Port Company, told the FT that because of the customs red tape introduced when Brexit put a customs border down the Irish Sea, trade is increasingly going direct to the EU. Dublin Port’s trade is down to 50% with the UK compared to two thirds before Brexit. Mr O’Reilly added: “I think it’s permanent . . . It’s turning back the clock. History suggests to me that [this trade] won’t come back.”
422. Trade: The Centre for European Reform’s latest “cost of Brexit” trackers says in October 2021 UK goods trade was 15.7%, or £12.6bn, lower than it would have been if the UK had stayed in the EU’s single market and customs union. This is worse than September’s 11.2% (see 397 below) because trade grew more rapidly in October in ‘doppelgänger UK’.
421. Import controls: Nearly a third of British importers of EU goods are “not at all prepared” for full post-Brexit customs checks that begin on 1 January, according to a survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD). Three in ten firms said they were not at all prepared for the change, with 37% of small businesses and nearly a quarter of large ones saying they were not ready. From New Year’s Day a six-month grace periods will end and companies importing goods will need to make immediate customs declarations to HMRC and pay any tariffs due.
420. Investment: Figures from the ONS in The Financial Times have revealed that business investment in the UK “fell off a cliff” in mid-2016 immediately after the Brexit vote and has failed to recover since. It is down 10% on the second quarter of 2016, while over the same period, business investment grew by 8% in the eurozone and by nearly 20 per cent in the US.
419. Trade: The British Chambers of Commerce, have said that the recent uplift in trade with the EU following a difficult start to 2021 is not being sustained. In October it tipped back into reverse. William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said: “This is a warning sign. Although the data is a one-month snapshot it feeds into a detectable trend of a levelling off of the recent improvement in UK-EU trade in goods following a very difficult start to 2021.” ONS figures show goods imports from the EU fell by 3.6% in October and goods exports to the EU fell by 2.7%.
418. Galileo: Professor Sir Martin Sweeting founder and executive chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), a corporate spin-off from the University of Surrey, has told the Science and Technology Select Committee that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU means UK suppliers like SSTL will not be allowed to bid for future upgrades. Satellites 27-28 were launched last month, the first using Galileo’s own Control Centre, thanks to a hugely demanding upgrade from an industrial consortium led by GMV in Spain. See also 47 below.
417. Horizon: The EU is blocking the UK from its flagship Horizon research programme because it does not “trust” the British Government after threats to tear up the NI protocol. Non-EU countries Georgia, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia were all granted associate membership of Horizon on 7 December. An EU spokesman told The Telegraph: “The UK’s association to Horizon Europe and other EU programmes will be finalised in due course. This requires a level of trust that the attached conditions will be complied with.”
416. Travel: Under the nationality and borders bill, non-Irish EU citizens living in the Republic will have to apply online to obtain pre-travel clearance from the UK in order to cross the Border under proposed new immigration laws. These EU and EEA citizens will be required to apply for a US-style visa waiver known as an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) before entering the UK, including when crossing the land Border into Northern Ireland.
415. Global trade: A member of the Bank of England monetary policy committee has produced a chart showing that Britain’s trade flows (imports plus exports as a share of GDP) have fallen by “far more than in any other G7 country” since 2009. Michael Saunders said Britain has become “less globalised with the effects of the pandemic exacerbated by Brexit”.
414. Trade: The National Audit Office has published a report on the government’s trade negotiations so far. It concludes the range of projected long-term economic benefits for secured and proposed free trade agreements with Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the US, is between 0 and 0.16% of GDP, equivalent to £0–£3.4bn. This compares with the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasting a 4% fall in GDP (£85bn) due to leaving the single market.
413. Delays: A survey by the French Chamber of Great Britain has found delays to cross-Channel trade are still worsening almost a year after Brexit checks came in. The report highlights rising costs and key staff shortages. No less than 79% of firms trading with France reported hold-ups in the three months to September, 6% more than in Q2. Some 82% of firms say logistic costs have risen for imports and 43% for exports.
412. Construction: UK construction workforce lost 175,000 last year a study by the Construction Industry Training Board has found. Some blame Brexit, but UK nationals appear to be leaving the UK industry at the same rate as foreign-born workers. Federation of Master Builders CEO Brian Berry, calling for more home-grown talent, said: “The fall in the number of construction migrant workers over the last three years is not surprising and helps to explain why many small construction companies have had to turn down jobs because of the lack of available workers.”
411. Steel: The Welsh LibDems have accused the government of a “rigid and inflexible Brexit ideology” that is placing Welsh steel jobs at risk. Welsh steel output has fallen by 20% since 2015 and exports to the EU have plunged by a third. The ongoing row over triggering article 16 of the NI protocol means the US is refusing to lift tariffs, placing steel jobs in Wales at further risk.
410. Northern Ireland: The British and Irish governments have jointly published the findings of an Independent Reporting Commission, formed five years ago as part of wider efforts to sustain the power-sharing administration. The report says Paramilitary gangs pose “a clear and present danger” to commit violence fed by post-Brexit tensions.
409. Drones: The future of the UK drone industry, one of Britain’s prime opportunities for growth, and many other UK-based manufacturing exporters, will be severely threatened once the UK’s eligibility for the EU’s CE accreditation regime expires at the end of December 2022. Robert Garbett, CEO of Drone Major Group Limited, has warned of the need to speed up post-Brexit accreditation and establish a clear pathway to United Kingdom Certified Assessed (UKCA) accreditation ahead of the fast-approaching deadline.
408. Pigs: At least 16,000 healthy pigs have been culled and incinerated in the UK since the summer due to a shortage of capacity in abattoirs. Pig farmers are facing a perfect storm of issues preventing them from getting a growing backlog of pigs off their farms and into processing facilities. These include a lack of butchers linked to the government’s post-Brexit migration policies and China’s refusal to lift covid-related embargos on pork exports. See also 391 and 282 below.
407. Wildlife: The UK’s three largest nature charities say the government’s scheme to replace the common agriculture policy and pay farmers for managing land more sustainably, restoring nature and tackling climate change is a huge disappointment. Craig Bennett, CEO of the Wildlife Trust, said the plan “shows a shocking lack of ambition which does very little to address the climate and nature crises” and “nature-friendly farmers look set to lose out too”.
406. Seed potatoes: Seed potato farmers continue to face a post-Brexit struggle. As a third country, producers in the UK now require separate technical listings to export to the EU. Richard Thomson MP for Gordon said Europe was the industry’s “largest and most lucrative market” but that Brexit and the UK government’s determination not to agree continued alignment on food standards, “is putting this trade at grave peril”. See also Downside 4 below.
405. New border controls: HMRC is reminding traders to prepare for more customs changes that come into effect on 1 January 2022. Importers will, inter alia, need to make import customs declarations for each consignment and exporters will need to state their goods comply with rules of origin to avoid tariffs. If unable to provide supporting evidence the EU customer will be liable to pay the full (non-preferential) rate of Customs Duty and HMRC may also charge the exporter a penalty.
404. Kitchen retailer: A 109-year-old kitchen retailing business is to permanently close as a result of covid lockdowns and Brexit supply issues. Ken Thompson, owner of Bussens & Parkin in Mildenhall in Suffolk, says supply delays and Brexit bureaucracy have left him with no choice but to put his store into involuntary insolvency. He said business had reached a point where it was making no profit.
403. Welsh ports: The ferry company Stena Line says that trade is down 30% at its Welsh ports and that it was apparent “Brexit is not just a short-term issue”. The firm is now preparing for checks to be introduced at the UK side but said it was committed to the ports in Wales. Ian Davies, Head of UK Ports at Stena, said the next priority was helping customers deal with the new checks from 1 January on the UK side of the border with the EU as these have so far been delayed by UK government.
402. Irish customs revenue: Brexit and an increase in online shopping have seen an “explosion” in the Irish state’s customs duty haul, almost doubling it to €458m so far this year. The Irish public accounts committee was told the authorities are dealing with up to 700,000 customs entries a day, and that it expects an overall 30-fold increase on the 1.8m entries it used to handle annually prior to Brexit.
401. Banks: The boss of HSBC has warned banks and their clients of rising costs if Brexit fragments European financial markets. Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC, said there is a real “risk of fragmentation increasing costs” in the banking sector. Several global banks are planning to shift their workforce to EU cities to avoid greater friction stemming from Brexit. HSBC is planning on moving about 1,000 investment bankers from London to its Paris office
400. Steel tariffs: The USA is delaying a deal to remove Trump-era tariffs on UK steel and aluminum exports due to concerns over post-Brexit trade rules affecting Northern Ireland, the FT reports. A US Commerce Department official was quoted as saying that talks with the UK on easing metals tariffs could not proceed because of concerns about British threats to trigger article 16, the report said. Tariffs on EU exports were cut some time ago, see 331 below.
399. Food exports: The Food and Drink Federation’s newly-released H1 trade snapshot shows that UK food exports to the EU fell by 20% in the first half of 2021 compared to last year, and by 27% compared to 2019. Sales to Ireland were down almost a third and to Germany by nearly half. The report also looks at imports from the EU, which were down 11% from 2020.
November 2021 ⇓
398. Trade diversion: Figures from the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) shows freight volumes from Dublin to Liverpool and Holyhead down 19% in the first three-quarters of 2021 compared with 2020, and between Rosslare and Fishguard it was down by 30%. Meanwhile, Irish traffic direct to EU ports increased by 52% in Q2 and Q3 compared to the whole of 2019.
397. Trade: A new analysis by the Centre for European Reform shows Britain’s goods trade was 11.2%, or £8.5bn, lower in September than it would have been if the UK had stayed in the EU’s single market and customs union. The figures are in line with the CER’s ‘cost of Brexit’ model which for many months has found that UK goods trade is consistently between 11% and 16% lower as a result of Brexit.
396. Labour shortages: Since the Brexit vote, the number of EU workers coming to Corby, Northants has reduced to a trickle and businesses are feeling the pinch when it comes to filling jobs. Warehouses are offering higher rates of pay and better conditions but one manager says, “paying order pickers £28,000 a year is completely unsustainable in the long term. Ultimately the cost will be passed on to the customer at some point”.
395. UK business sell off: The 20% fall in sterling following the Brexit vote has made British companies cheaper than their EU counterparts and an attractive proposition for US takeovers. According to the ONS the first six months of 2021 saw American businesses acquiring UK firms worth around £34bn. This is said to represent one of the biggest selloffs in UK corporate history.
394. Irish ports: Rosslare Europort had one of the busiest days in its history in November – thanks to Brexit. Irish importers are bringing in fewer goods from the UK and are trading more directly to and from the continent. So far this year, the volume of cargo travelling through the port has ballooned by 55%. Continental freight volumes, which have skyrocketed by 378%, are said to be driving the overall numbers.
393. Xmas gifts: People sending gifts to the EU are warned that problems ranging from delays and unexpected charges to items going missing may be encountered since this will be the first year that new rules relating to VAT and customs charges will apply. Gifts under €45 (£38) that are being sent to Europe remain free of VAT or charges.
392. Climate change: Lord Deben, the former Tory cabinet minister who chairs the Climate Change Committee, said that the proposed free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand were “entirely unacceptable for climate change purposes”. He warned they would undermine attempts to tackle global warming and were unfair to UK farmers we were asking to meet higher standards.
391. Pig cull: Sky News are reporting that due to labour shortages in the meat processing industry thousands of healthy pigs are being killed every week simply to make space on farms, amounting to the largest culling of healthy pigs in the history of British farming. The cull is down to a combination of changing immigration rules related to Brexit and many workers choosing to go home during the pandemic and not returning, leaving the sector 15-20% down on the staff it needs. See also entry 282 below.
390. Small businesses: A survey by cloud accounting provider Free Agent has found that half of UK SME’s believe Brexit has had a negative impact on the UK’s society as a whole awhile 64% believe that it has negatively influenced the UK economy. Over half had experienced shrinking customer bases, while 43% were impacted by supply chain issues and found it harder to get cost effective supplies or produce for their business.
389. Construction: Brexit and the pandemic have been blamed for the soaring cost of a new pedestrian bridge in Glasgow linking Partick and Govan. The cost of the bridge was originally tabled as £17.5m but has risen by 68% to £29.5m. A Glasgow Council spokesman said all construction projects were facing substantial cost increases as a result of Brexit and the pandemic, after steel prices doubled in the past six months.
388. Labour shortages: More EU nationals left the UK last year than arrived for the first time in three decades as a net 94,000 departed, piling further pressure on Britain’s labour crisis according to The Telegraph. Net migration plunged to just 34,000 in 2020, down from 271,000 the previous year, as pandemic travel restrictions curbed movement and new post-Brexit immigration rules came into force.
387. Cornish pasties: The Cornish pasty could lose its special protected status after the UK failed to agree protection for the geographical indicators with Norway and Liechtenstein for products such as Cornish pasties and clotted cream. They are among British foodstuffs that had previously been given protection under EU rules, meaning they have to be produced using ingredients from their geographic origin and made to a certain recipe.
386. Hospitality: Pub group Mitchells & Butlers has warned its performance in the current year will “inevitably” be impacted by higher energy prices, rising wage costs and supply chain issues following Brexit. In a statement, it said, “Brexit remains an important event for the market and has created risks for the sector, principally around the supply and cost of products and workforce shortages”.
385. New customs controls: The Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee have been told the logistics industry expressed “dismay” about new customs controls at the UK border which will begin in the new year. Robert Windsor, of the British International Freight Association, said: “My view and the association’s view is these are more significant impacts on the UK as a whole than what we saw on January 1 this year.”
384. Supermarket shelves: The CEO of the German discount chain Lidl’s UK arm has said while problems with availability of products in stores had eased in the past 10 to 12 weeks “daily hard work” was still required to ensure there were no gaps on shelves. Christian Härtnagel said the company was constantly having to seek new ways to work around problems, as a combination of the pandemic, Brexit and trade disruption continued to affect businesses.
383. New EU Entry rules: The new European Entry/Exit System (EES) coming in 2022 will use biometrics at the border to record people entering and leaving. Millions of passengers in trains and cars, on ferries and travelling through the Tunnel will be required by EU law to submit fingerprints. Sally Hamwee, Chair of the Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the House of Lords fears the UK will not be ready in time.
382. Regional funding: Business groups and local councils are protesting at a hidden £1.65bn post-Brexit cut to development funding in the North. South Yorkshire is poised to lose £900m and Tees Valley and Durham £750m over six years, because the UK has left the EU, the groups have told Michael Gove.
381. Dover chaos: New EU rules monitoring entry to the Schengen Area would force lorry drivers and tourists to leave their vehicles for ID checks, leading to huge queues and traffic chaos at Dover. Kent MPs warned there was a danger of “large scale traffic disruption in Kent … on a continual basis”. The disruption would be as bad as if France closed the border, they said, criticising the EU plans as being more suited to airports than seaports.
380. Highland hotels: Some Scottish hotels are having to close the Highland tourist season early due to lack of staff. If the effects of Brexit are not mitigated by seasonal visas, next summer could be even worse, say workers. The Brexit drain on hospitality workers is particularly affecting larger hotels in remote locations where seasonal workers live on site and get room and board as part of their package.
379. Fast track visas: The New Scientist claims not a single scientist has applied to a UK government visa scheme for Nobel prize laureates and other award winners since its launch six months ago. The fast-track visa route was launched in May for award-winners in the fields of science, engineering, the humanities and medicine. The scheme has come under criticism from scientists and has been described as “a joke”.
378. Construction: The construction industry is warning of post Brexit disruption due to a lack of approved bodies able to certify that products meet the new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) safety standard which came into force in January 2021. The UKCA marking is the new UK product marking that covers most goods which previously required CE marking. CE marks will still be recognised up to 1 January 2023.
377. Travel services: A combination of the pandemic and Brexit has tipped the travel service trade into an £18bn loss according to the latest ONS figures. Travel services exports fell nearly 67% (£6.9bn) in comparison to the second quarter in 2019 while import of travel services plunged over 80% (£11.9bn). Service exports to the bloc were more than 20% lower than with non-EU countries.
376. Migrant crisis: The BBC are suggesting that concerns in No 10 about record numbers of migrants crossing the Channel are driven by the politics of Brexit. Ministers want to illustrate how Brexit has restored sovereignty and independence to the UK. Mark Easton says controlling borders requires international co-operation but with few bilateral deals in place, and outside the EU, Brexit has made the situation more complicated, not less.
375. Temporary imports: Spanish customs charged a holidaymaker 21% duty (£340) on the value of three e-bikes imported temporarily into Spain. Anyone taking reasonably high-value goods from the UK to the EU is required to declare them and pay any tariffs due. Payment can be avoided by paying for a customs carnet although this would have cost £300 plus VAT.
374. Spanish property: For the first time, Germans have overtaken Britons for snapping up property on the Spanish Costas. The latest data from the Spanish College of Registrars shows that Germans bought 10.4% of all properties purchased by foreigners in Spain during the third quarter of 2021, compared with 9.9% for Britons.
373. Hospitality: A travel industry survey suggests Brexit red tape has caused a “severe” slump in the number of young people in Britain able to take advantage of seasonal work in the EU. The number of hospitality staff going to France for the winter season has dropped by 75%, falling from 8,000 to 2,000 according to Seasonal Businesses in Travel.
372. Parcels to Ireland: An Post, the state-owned provider of postal services in Ireland has hit out at the British post office over delays being caused to packages coming into Ireland. The CEO said it was “maddening” that Britain’s post office will not implement new customs rules meaning thousands of parcels are getting stuck for weeks in An Post postal depots, causing huge frustration for consumers.
371. Covid: A report by the National Audit Office has found the UK government was not properly prepared for a pandemic like Covid-19. It says the Cabinet Office allocated 56 of its 94 full-time emergency planning members of staff to prepare for potential disruptions from a no-deal Brexit, “limiting its ability” to plan for other crises.
370. Ryanair: Ryanair have confirmed they intend to delist from the London Stock Exchange due to high costs and the low number of trades being made and will just be listed on the Euronext Dublin exchange as of 18 December. The company said “The migration away from the LSE is consistent with a general trend for trading in shares of EU corporates post-Brexit”.
369. Holidays: The Telegraph are reporting that European holidays will be more expensive from the end of 2022. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is due to be rolled out next year. The visa-waiver scheme means all third country nationals, including those from the UK, must fill in a form and pay a €7 ETIAS fee before travel into the Schengen area.
368. Composite food: In March next year, a transition period related to ‘composite food products’ comes to an end and UK exporters of pies and suchlike to the EU will be required to comply with EU rules. This will mean any ingredient of animal origin – including meat, milk and eggs – “must come from EU-approved establishments”, Emily Rees of Trade Strategies has told MPs.
367. Fishing: A row has broken out with Denmark. The UK is accused of breaching the post-Brexit fisheries deal over plans to ban bottom trawling at the Dogger Bank conservation zone in the North Sea, a move hailed by environmentalists hopeful of seeing a resurgence of halibut, sharks and skate in the zone (see upside #8). Denmark’s fisheries minister, Rasmus Prehn, said such plans were not in line with the post-Brexit deal.
366. Business risk: Brexit continues to be a major concern for British businesses, according to Aviva’s latest Risk Insight Report 2021. The survey of 1,251 businesses found that a quarter believe Brexit is one of the largest risks they face while fully 78% said Brexit is the risk they are most worried about.
365. Visa credit cards: Amazon will stop accepting payments made using Visa credit cards issued in Britain from 19 January next year. UK customers buying products will still be able to use Visa debit cards, Mastercard and Amex credit cards as well as Visa credit cards issued outside Britain. MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis said that the move was “because Visa is increasing transaction rates now the EU cap no longer applies post Brexit”.
364. Trade with Ireland: Latest figures from the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show Brexit is continuing to impact Irish-British trade. Imports from Britain have plunged 21% in the first 9 months. Goods exports from the Republic to Britain for the first nine months of 2021 is up 23% and stands at €10.6bn. Trade with Northern Ireland has surged with exports up 48% and imports up 60%.
363. Music industry: Independent artists and labels say Brexit has had an “outrageous” impact in shipping music and merchandise to and from Europe with many UK acts and labels now finding it “kind of untenable to ship records to Europe.” This is reported in The New Musical Express (NME).
362. Trade: According to the latest UK Trade Policy Observatory (TPO) analysis, the terms of the EU-UK post Brexit trade deal caused an estimated combined hit to the UK economy of around £44bn with £32.5bn lost in potential imports to the UK and £11bn in exports to the EU, from January to July 2021.
361. Tariffs: Although ostensibly the 2020 UK-EU trade deal eliminated tariffs on originating goods, the difficulty in meeting rules of origin, which prove goods were made in the UK, means exports to the EU worth between £7.89bn and £10.56bn incurred tariffs in the first seven months of the year. This is according to Sussex University’s trade policy observatory.
360. School trips: The FT claims that post-Brexit immigration rules has led to a collapse in EU school trips to the UK. Classes are no longer permitted to use a group passport, increasing the cost and paperwork involved in travelling. In the EU many pupils have only an ID card which is no longer accepted in the UK and any non-EU pupils also require a full visa.
359. Equine industry: The equine business is being killed by Brexit claims Olympic gold medal-winning rider Nick Skelton. He says, “It’s been catastrophic as far as the movement of horses to and from Europe is concerned”. Skelton used to train 60 European horse in Warwickshire but has now had to move the operation to Holland, because of the hassle and expense of moving horses across the Channel.
358. Gardeners: The Royal Horticultural Society has told EU subscribers that they will no longer be able to send their magazine The Gardener to Europe owing to a change in the VAT rules that came into effect on 1 July 2021 as a result of the UK no longer being part of the EU. The RHS cannot continue to post to EU members in a way that meets VAT rules, resulting in some subscribers receiving an additional bill from their local or national postal service.
357. Trade: More than one in ten small and medium-sized exporters (SMEs) have lost trade with the EU since Brexit, a survey by the Institute of Directors for Channel 4’s Dispatches shows. A quarter of SMEs that trade with the EU are now considering moving some of their European operations outside Britain while 16% said they had already decided to move some or all into the single market due to Brexit.
356. Relocations: Brexit has resulted in two regions of Belgium receiving a boost in inward investment. Flanders welcomed €2.4bn and 2,755 new jobs, as 81 companies relocated since the UK withdrew from the EU. Wallonia received almost €358m in investments, 539 new jobs and around 20 companies. This is reported in The Brussels Times.
355. Air freight: DHL is to establish a new airline in Austria with 18 Boeing 757 freighters transferred from DHL’s UK division. UK carriers have had to restructure operations since Brexit because they no longer have the intra-EU freedoms granted to EU airlines. The new airline, DHL Air Austria, based in Vienna, will employ 176 pilots and 50 ground staff to handle scheduling, training and flight planning.
354. Refugees: Refugees in northern France say Brexit has made it easier for them to reach the UK in small boats, after record numbers of people crossed the Channel in one day. When part of the EU, under a mechanism known as Dublin III the UK could ask other EU countries to take back people they could prove had passed through safe European countries before reaching the UK. [Ed: this also qualifies as an upside, depending on your perspective!]
353. Trade: Business experts from Loughborough University have told the House of Lords European affairs committee that Brexit started to affect UK trade as early as the 2015 general election. A new report says Brexit had already reduced exports to the EU countries by 25% by 2018, compared to what we would otherwise have expected. This is a much larger effect than the 15% suggested by the OBR.
352. Marks & Spencer: Marks & Spencer has said it will increasingly use locally sourced food products to mitigate the impact of Brexit on its Irish operations. The supermarket chain said ongoing EU border issues, largely relating to its business in the Republic, has cost it around £13m in the six months to 2 October 2021. Food products arriving into the Republic from Britain have faced new checks in the post-Brexit era.
351. Supply problems: The National Institute of Economic & Social Research (NIESR) say short-run supply problems will persist, exacerbated by Brexit. The NIESR say our exit from the EU has acted to reduce the pool of labour, contributed to lower levels of firm investment than might otherwise have been the case, and led to some contraction in the size of our traded sector.
350. Irish customers: The Irish revenue has reminded consumers in Ireland to check whether the advertised price of goods includes all tax and duty costs due before making a decision to buy in the run up to Christmas. The head of Revenue’s south east frontier management branch said, “customs formalities and, in certain circumstances, additional charges now apply to goods bought from the UK”.
349. Relocations: According to The New York Times, Estonia has experienced an influx of British technology businesses, contributing to a big jump in tax revenues and reinforcing the country’s reputation as a hub of innovation. Over 4,000 British firms helped to swell Estonian tax revenues by 60% compared to 2020, according to comments by prime minister, Kaja Kallas, in an interview with the British business newspaper City AM.
348. Banks: The European Central Bank is increasing pressure on financial institutions to transfer UK staff and assets to the continent after many put off moves because of covid. The ECB has said that as covid recedes, banks need to relocate key individuals, those involved in continental business or risk people associated with such work, to the EU. The ECB is insisting banks based in Britain moving the legal location of EU trades while people and capital remain in London cannot continue.
347. Clearing: Pan-European exchange Euronext says it will clear all trades on its newly acquired Italian platform by 2024, helping the EU cut reliance on the London stock exchange for core financial activities after Brexit. Setting out Euronext’s strategic priorities to 2024, its CEO Stephane Boujnah said the group, which operates seven stock markets across Europe, would build on its acquisition of the Milan exchange earlier this year.
346. Trade: According to the Zimbabwe Herald, the UK’s investment of more than £1bn “to smooth the passage of goods over its new post-Brexit border” has failed to prevent a 15% slump in trade with the EU. The Herald points out this £1bn is about a third of the amount Boris Johnson intends to spend on new hospitals over the next three years.
345. Wales: The Welsh Government has accused Westminster of shortchanging Wales with the announcement that Wales is to gets £46m of funding in a pilot for the community renewal fund for projects in Wales compared to the £375m in structural funds that Wales received from the EU every year. The Welsh Government said, “the figures are indisputable … Wales now has less say over less money”.
344. Trade: All of the new post-Brexit trade deals put together will have an economic benefit of just £3 to £7 per person over the next 15 years, according to the government’s own figures. Official estimates from the Office for Budget Responsibility point to a Brexit loss of over £1,250 per person over the coming years, over 178 times the most optimistic prediction for the benefits from the trade deals.
343. Erasmus: Scotland has received around £14m less under the UK Government’s post-Brexit student exchange programme compared to the EU’s Erasmus+ scheme. Newly published figures show around £8.3m has been awarded in Scotland this academic year under the Turing Scheme, a replacement for the EU Erasmus programme. The total given in Scotland for successful applications under Erasmus in 2020 was around £22.6m (€26.4m).
342. Cornwall: Cornwall may only get a maximum of £3m from the government to directly replace the £100m it could have been eligible for if the UK had remained in the EU, it has been claimed. Prior to Brexit, Cornwall had qualified for funding from the EU due to it being recognised as one of the poorest regions in Europe.
341. Northern Ireland: Businesses in Northern Ireland are struggling to recruit enough staff and a failure to tackle the issue could see some industries leave, Manufacturing NI has warned. Since the referendum in 2016, 18,000 migrants have left the province and despite a growing population, it appears there are not enough people to fill the available jobs.
340. Red tape: A report by the National Audit Office says Britain’s international traders completed a total of 48 million customs declarations (UK-EU and UK-RoW) between January and August 2021, compared to 44 million for the whole of 2020. Traders will need to complete additional declarations as full import controls are phased in between October 2021 and July 2022. Certifying officers have also signed off 140,000 Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for the movement of goods from the UK to the EU.
339. London stock exchange (LSE): Worries about political and exchange-rate risk have dragged down the valuations of LSE listed companies and share-trading has plummeted since 2007. The number of listed companies has dropped by two-fifths. The entire FTSE 100 index is now worth about the same as Microsoft. Flotations in the first nine months of 2021 have been half Hong Kong’s, two fifths of Shanghai’s and an eighth of New York’s. They’re fewer even than Shenzhen’s, a place that was a building site at the time of the Big Bang in 1986, with Brexit partly to blame according to The Times.
338. Cost of living: Lord Heseltine, the former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, says Boris Johnson’s failed Brexit deal has caused a cost of living crisis. The peer blames Johnson for fuel shortages, NHS backlogs and Christmas turkey shortages. He warns that Britain faces harsh months of lower living standards.
337. High street retailers: Three in four UK high-street firms have been hit by Brexit-related supply issues. New research suggests the government’s hard Brexit has been felt by three-quarters of UK high-street firms. A survey of 1,000 business found lost orders or delayed deliveries had affected the vast majority of firms.
336. Fish prices: Fishmongers buying fish from the continent have noticed prices rising since Brexit came into force. Prices for sardines, red mullet and octopus have all increased according to one London fishmonger. Mack Naboulsi, owner of Pure Fisheries in Chapel Market said fish stocks have also become more scarce, adding, “There are even some fish I can’t get anymore”.
335. EU Trade: A new report by the National Audit Office says total trade in goods between the UK and EU was down by 15% (£17.0bn) in Q2 when compared with the equivalent quarter in 2018 (which the ONS uses as a comparator year), whereas UK trade with the rest of the world was up by 1% (£1.0 bn) pointing clearly to the effect of Brexit.
334. Meat: UK meat producers are sending carcasses to the EU for butchering before re-importing them as they continue to combat a labour shortage. The British Meat Processors Association says producers are sending beef to the Republic of Ireland amid local shortages of butchers while pork producers are set to begin sending pigs to the Netherlands for butchering and packing.
333. Salmon: A Scottish seafood processing firm, which supplies fish to the Queen, says it is losing business because of labour shortages blamed on Brexit. Christopher Leigh, CEO of Aberdeen based John Ross Jr, claims the current workforce crisis “cannot be overcome without intervention from government”. Since Brexit, the firm has struggled to attract the staff required to fulfil international orders, with many EU nationals choosing to return to mainland Europe.
332. Ryanair: Ryanair Holdings Plc is poised to drop its London stock exchange listing, becoming the first major company to blame its departure on Brexit. The Irish discount airline said Monday that it is weighing a delisting due to compliance headaches caused by Britain’s exit from the European Union. A growing number of companies are disappearing from the London stock market for a variety of reasons.
331. Steel: British steel makers have been excluded from an agreement between the EU and the USA to end a trade war that saw punitive tariffs applied to EU steel exports, putting British steelmakers at a competitive disadvantage. The US is the second-largest market for British-made steel. European rivals will now be able to ship their products to the US without paying import taxes.
October 2021 ⇓
330. Scottish vegetables: A third of Scotland’s largest brassica crop worth more than £1m has been left to rot in the field because Brexit ended access for seasonal pickers. Costs will rise next year and production will shrink as a result, farmers predict. And Scotland’s iconic food producers are facing “catastrophic failure” to protect their status in UK government trade deals.
329. Construction: Industry experts say the government’s goal of building 300,000 homes a year cannot be achieved without easing immigrant visas and promoting extensive training in the country. Brexit has revealed how much Britain’s construction sector relied on its immigrant labour. Jerry Swain, of the Unite Union, said: “The industry has relied on foreign workers. It takes at least two years to make a decent brickworker or carpenter, so the pools available are currently limited.”
328.Climate change: The government’s decision to slash tax on domestic flights was driven by a desire to make Brexit look successful, the chair of the climate change committee Lord Deben, has claimed. He told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget measure, which has been criticised by climate campaigners and the Labour Party, was motivated by Brexit.
327. Development funding: Almost £2bn has been slashed from promised development spending in poorer areas of the UK, despite Boris Johnson’s vow to “level up” the country. The government had pledged to match lost EU funding – to “tackle inequality and deprivation” – which would have required at least £4.5bn over the next three years but the budget has revealed just £2.6bn has been allocated.
326. Farming subsidies: Farmers in Cumbria are being warned that over the next three years 50 % of farms could see their profit wiped out. While most may break even, many will be running at a loss once the subsidies are cut as the Basic Payment Scheme is phased out between 2021 and 2028, meaning farmers could lose between 50-70% of their subsidy by 2024.
325. Climate change: A shift in trade links away from the EU to more distant partners like Australia, China and the US could almost double Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, according to a new analysis by Friends of the Earth released on the eve of the UN COP26 gathering in Glasgow.
324. Shortages: Brexit has worsened UK’s shortages, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government’s own independent financial watchdog. Shortages across various industries have been “exacerbated” by new immigration rules for EU citizens and trade barriers with the bloc.
323. Trade: A survey by the Food and Drink Federation shows GB food manufacturers have significantly reduced sales to Northern Ireland as a result of the protocol. The FDF surveyed 83 members between 4 and 19 October and found in large businesses, those with more than 250 employees, sales volumes to Northern Ireland were down by an average of 10% this year.
322. Irish imports from UK: New figures from the Irish Department of Agriculture shows there has been a 20-fold increase in the number of consignments of food and plant products and live animals being processed by health inspectors at Irish ports since Brexit. Inspectors are processing about 1,700 consignments a week compared with fewer than 100 a week last year under new border controls covering sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks on goods being imported from Britain.
321. UK meat producers: Major UK meat processors were reportedly flying in staff from Ireland to man processing lines to cope with demand. This follows a combination of Brexit and Covid-19 which has sparked an exodus of eastern European workers from abattoirs, damaging the industry and leading to shortages.
320. Litigation: UK businesses are now having to pay ‘security bonds’ of £50,000 or more to courts in the European Union in order to litigate there, legal experts have told City AM. The bonds could make it more difficult and costly for UK businesses to defend their intellectual property in European countries, according to law firm Mathys & Squire.
319. Horizon: Sir Bill Cash, chair of the European scrutiny committee, has said UK scientists are being “frozen out” of the £80bn EU research programme Horizon Europe because of the ongoing dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol. Britain’s associate membership of Horizon has still not been ratified by the EU.
318. Welsh Ports: The BBC report comments from the Irish foreign minister that Welsh ports are being “bypassed by Irish ferries.” Irish hauliers are no longer using the UK land bridge to Europe but are increasingly using the 44 ferry services (up from fewer than 12 in 2020) to deliver goods into and out of the EU.
317. Recycling: US trainer maker Nike has shelved its UK recycling scheme due to higher costs arising from Brexit. The Reuse-a-Shoe scheme saw old trainers shipped to Belgium for recycling into rubber for use in track surfaces, gym flooring and new footwear. Brexit and EU export tariffs and increased haulage rates mean the scheme is no longer economically viable to run.
316. Sewage: The government has given polluters the green light to dump untreated sewage into Britain’s rivers and coastal waters as Brexit and covid disrupt normal water treatment. The Environment Agency said in September companies struggling to get hold of the required chemicals would be allowed to “discharge effluent without meeting the conditions” of their permits, which normally require water to be treated by a multi-step process.
315. Carers: Disabled people are struggling to hire carers to help with vital daily tasks due to low pay and Brexit, the Observer claims. According to a report published earlier this month, an estimated 70,000 live-in carers and personal assistants are normally employed but recruitment into the sector has fallen dramatically after 1 July this year, when the settled status regime was fully implemented.
314. Farming: British farmers are being forced to slash production next year because of a massive shortfall in workers that has caused an “unprecedented” amount of food to be thrown into landfill in 2021. The crunch is set to come when imports of produce from the EU are under increased strain due to the introduction of border controls and checks which have been repeatedly postponed after Brexit.
313. Supermarkets: Supermarkets are using cardboard cut-outs of fruit and vegetables to fill gaps on shelves because supply problems combined with a shift towards smaller product ranges mean many stores are now too big, a process said to have “only been accelerated by Brexit and the pandemic which have led to staff shortages and difficulties in shipping goods”.
312. Shellfish: The forthcoming trade deal with New Zealand will “slash tariffs” on New Zealand mussels, described as “another slap in the face” to an industry devastated by the loss of its major EU market after Brexit. David Jarrad of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain said it was “another nail in the lid of a coffin that is already closing”.
311. Trade: The food and drink federation report a fall in Britain’s exports to the EU of 15.9% in the first half of this year when compared to the same period in 2020, and 27.4% compared to 2019. Exports to the Republic of Ireland, our biggest export market, fell significantly with a loss of 22% compared to 2020, and 27% compared to pre-covid data – a loss of more than £0.5bn.
310. IPOs: Fifteen years ago, a fifth of all companies globally that went public via a placing, chose London. Now London’s share of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) on a global basis has plummeted to 4 per cent. The reasons are varied, but the main factors include Brexit-induced political and currency risk.
309. English teachers: It’s easier post-Brexit for Irish people to get a job teaching English in the EU according to TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language). They say European demand for teachers from the Republic of Ireland has “increased dramatically” amid the fallout from the UK’s departure from the EU.
308. Meat producers: The recent decision to further postpone import controls on meat imported from the EU “has handed the EU a nice Brexit dividend”, says the British Meat Producers Association. UK exporters, since January this year, have had to shoulder a paperwork burden that has doubled the end-to-end costs of exporting, adding £40m to trade with the EU, say the BMPA.
307. Lost crops: A Warwickshire farmer has told Coventry Live he has been forced to dump acres of crops over the past month because of an unprecedented shortage of pickers due to visa restrictions since Brexit – citing a lack of skilled British pickers to meet the demand in the field. He said, “We are not going to grow labour intensive crops next year, we’re going to cut back as much as we can. We’re scrapping courgettes, cherry tomatoes and chillies, we can’t grow these crops because it’s not profitable anymore”.
306. Vets: Veterinary services provider Eville & Jones say Wales was the worst region in the UK to be affected by the slump in the number of vets available to carry out key roles after Brexit. The UK produces only about 900 veterinary graduates each year compared to a requirement for 2,000 new posts to be filled annually.
305. Trade with Ireland: The Irish Statistics Office say exports to GB in the first eight months of 2021 increased by €1,603m (+21%) compared to the same period last year, while imports from GB decreased by €3,179m (-30%). Imports from Northern Ireland rose by €947m (+61%) to €2,500m and exports to Northern Ireland increase by €707m (+47%).
304. Packaging materials: The Packaging Federation have said it is now too late to avert temporary shortages of cardboard and aluminium cans this autumn. CEO Dick Searle, who has worked in the sector for 55 years, said alongside Brexit and pandemic disruption, businesses are facing a “perfect storm” of problems. “Brexit would have been difficult but Covid and Brexit together has made it much more difficult”, he said.
303. Recovery stalling: Chambers of commerce across West and North Yorkshire say their quarterly economic survey shows the pace of recovery slowing in the region. Additional bureaucracy, border delays and transportation costs continue to cause problems for one in two manufacturers exporting to the EU.
302. The landbridge: A new Irish ferry terminal has been inaugurated at the French ferry port of Dunkirk. The number of Ireland-France sea routes has increased to 44, from 12 before Brexit, as Irish importers and exporters side step the UK landbridge. The new terminal has already handled nearly 50,000 freight units (trucks and unaccompanied containers) moving from Rosslare and back since Brexit took effect on 1 January.
301. Student numbers: UCAS data published in August has found the number of EU students who were placed on 2021/22 courses has plunged 56% compared with the previous session. A post-Brexit collapse in EU student recruitment could threaten courses at world-famous institutions such as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, it was claimed.
300. Car exports: Volatile energy prices and the cost of complying with EU regulations post-Brexit are blunting the industry’s competitive advantage, the sector’s trade body has said. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) say costs, measured in time and resources, had increased as a result of leaving the EU, with 60% saying the extra expense for trading with the bloc was a “much more significant rise than other export destinations”.
299. Inflation: The latest Royal Bank of Scotland purchasing managers index (PMI) suggest companies are having to pass on the rising costs of materials, pay, logistics, covid and Brexit. Costs were reported to be rising at their quickest rate since 2008 and RBS said firms raised average charges “to a degree unseen” in two decades.
298. Export slump: Details published by HM Revenue & Customs show that, from the period ending June 2021, Scottish exports decreased by 14% compared to the previous year – the highest in the UK. The SNP say Boris Johnson must answer for the “catastrophic economic vandalism” created by Brexit.
297. Entertainers: British opera singer Dame Sarah Connolly has warned that Britain will lose its placing among the world’s leading musical nations if younger performers and instrumentalists are not easily able to work abroad again. She says, “Without some kind of situation where British musicians can spend a significant amount of time in Europe, establishing their careers, I am very concerned that [we will lose] what we have at the moment.”
296. Film industry: The television producer behind HBO’s Game of Thrones has blamed Brexit complications as the reason why a new German science-fiction drama is not being filmed in Northern Ireland. Frank Doelger said, “All of the rules and regulations about equipment going back and forth, transport from Northern Ireland, became something much more complicated.”
295. Food shortages: New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest 17% of adults claimed to have been unable to buy essential food items in the last fortnight because they were not available, representing up to eight million people. Almost a quarter said the same for non-essential food items.
294. Bank payments: British banks face IBAN payment issues across EU as GB payments begin to be refused. IBAN is an EU system for identifying bank accounts across national borders. Many users report discrimination being a major problem as a number of companies across Europe began to refuse Euro account bank details “if they contained the country code ‘GB’” according to a report in City AM.
293. Milk: Some British dairy farmers have been forced to destroy tens of thousands of litres of milk due to rising costs, labour shortages and an acute deficit of truck drivers which has strained supply chains to breaking point, farmers said. A post-Brexit shortage of workers exacerbated by the global strains of the covid crisis has sown chaos through supply chains according to Reuters.
292. Cruise ship workers: Cruise ship workers are leaving the industry in droves due to crippling post-Brexit visa rules, a veteran of the industry has claimed. Jean Williams tells The Mirror says her life is being “destroyed” and the livelihoods of many of her friends “sacrificed” thanks to new employment rules which mean many cruise firms are refusing to hire British workers.
291. Shortbread biscuits: Walker’s Shortbread in Scotland is facing a labour shortage crisis due to Brexit. The well-known 123-year-old brand famous for its tartan souvenir tins, faces a shortfall of 200 workers following the pandemic and Brexit. Joint MD Jim Walker said: “We were hoping to make a good recovery this year, but we are now in a situation where we are very short of staff.”
290. Computer chips: The boss of Intel says they are no longer considering building a factory in the UK because of Brexit. CEO Pat Gelsinger told the BBC that before the UK left the EU, the country “would have been a site that we would have considered” but “Post-Brexit… we’re looking at EU countries and getting support from the EU”.
289. Tesco: Tesco is turning to Spanish farmers to supply British consumers with their Christmas food, increasing the number of rail containers of fresh produce from the country from 65,000 to 90,000 by the end of the year. CEO, Ken Murphy, said on Wednesday that the supermarket had ordered 10% more turkeys this year to mitigate any problems
288. Vegetables: Farmers are having to pay up to £30 an hour for picking vegetables as the shortage of workers raises the prospect of Britain having to import more fresh produce next year. The British Growers Association says that seasonal agricultural workers can now earn £1,000 a week, the equivalent of more than £50,000 a year pro rata. Jack Ward, CEO of the association said: “It’s been a complete nightmare, there’s intense competition for labour with all sorts of other industries and lots of reports of people poaching labour off farms to work in the hospitality industry.”
287. Daffodils: Daffodil growers have been forced to let nearly 300 million plants rot in the ground this year due to a lack of pickers caused by Brexit and the pandemic. Farmers warning that unless critical labour shortages are solved before next year’s harvest, many will stop growing the bulbs. Cornwall, which supplies nine out of ten daffodils grown in the UK, has been particularly badly hit.
286. Expats: British expats are leaving Spain “in droves” as more stringent immigration rules apply after Brexit, The Daily Express reports. UK citizens can now only visit Spain without a visa for up to three months for tourism and business purposes. Earlier this month, Britons who have been rejected for residency in Spain were given just 15 days to leave the country, and told they risk being classified as illegal.
285. Turkeys: Christmas turkeys are to be imported from France and Poland to make up for the shortfall in UK production after farmers reared one million fewer birds due to labour shortages. In the past UK farmers were able to meet 100% of domestic demand but now supermarkets have been forced to buy from the EU.
284. Stagflation: A sharp slowdown in growth in Britain’s manufacturing industry caused by shortages has prompted Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, a producer of a closely watched economic survey, to warn “the UK [is] descending towards a bout of ‘stagflation’.” This is a combination of the low growth and high inflation Britain suffered in the 1970s.
283. Bus services: Stagecoach East Midlands says it is “working round the clock” to tackle staff shortages that are causing Lincolnshire bus services in Skegness and Lincoln to be temporarily cancelled or altered, as the impact of Brexit continues to affect business.
282. Mass cull of pigs: An acute shortage of butchers and slaughterers in the meat processing industry, exacerbated by Covid-19 and Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy means hundreds of thousands of pigs may have to be culled within weeks unless the government issues visas to allow more butchers into the country.
281. Fishing industry: The Brexit trade deal hailed as a £148m boost to the UK fishing fleet over the next five years will instead cost the industry more than £300m, according to a new report by a former DEFRA official. Britain’s fishing fleet is on track to lose nearly £65m a year as a result of the UK-EU trade deal.
280. Pharmacies: The shortage of HGV drivers is beginning to affect pharmacies with, “the whole supply chain [being] impacted from inbound wholesale depot supply down to outward depot deliveries to pharmacies,” according to a spokesperson for the association which represents large pharmacy operators.
279. Banking and finance: The exodus of talent from London to the EU is causing problems in the City with fewer EU national candidates in London now. So says the head of one recruitment agency in the City – “Hundreds of transfers out of London are being completed as COVID travel restrictions lift and it’s exacerbating the shortage of talent – especially at junior levels.”
278. Paris: The city has become one of the hottest job markets in Europe for finance professionals. France’s biggest investment banks are dangling pay bumps and flexible work arrangements to retain top performers. And the days when junior bankers in France were paid less than their UK counterparts may soon become history. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, have all beefed up operations in Paris post-Brexit.
September 2021 ⇓
277. Price rises: UK shop prices rose 0.4% month-on-month in August according to the British Retail Consortium. CEO Helen Dickinson said, “Food retailers are fighting to keep their prices down as far as possible. But mounting pressures – from rising commodity and shipping costs as well as Brexit-related red tape, mean this will not be sustainable for much longer, and food price rises are likely in the coming months”.
276. Turkeys: Brexit could cause widespread turkey shortages at Christmas, according to the chair of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA). Kate Martin says supermarket shelves are likely to be hit by a shortage of skilled European employees who are no longer available to us.
275. Petrol supplies: Some BP and Esso petrol stations in the UK have temporarily closed, with warning of shortages due to a combination of factors, including Brexit, covid and systemic conditions in the industry which have led to a shortage of qualified HGV drivers.
274. Hospitality prices: Data from a business confidence survey has found hospitality businesses face a storm of supply chain problems and rising costs, and three-quarters of them are likely to raise prices for consumers as a result of the inflationary impact of covid and Brexit.
273. Passports: UK travellers to Europe could be refused entry if their passport is more than 10 years old from the date of issue, even if there are 12 months left on the passport. The new rule has meant that many disappointed travellers have either had to miss out on a holiday, or pay hundreds of pounds for a fast track passport.
272. Christmas trees: According to retailer Christmastrees.co.uk, new Brexit rules, soaring prices and lack of labour have made importing trees more difficult and they warn of a potential shortage of UK grown trees this year.
271. Bonfire night: A Doncaster wholesaler is predicting a 70% plunge in the industry-wide stock of fireworks, blaming changes to product certification post-Brexit, a shortage of labour and increased checks on imports. Richard Hogg, shop manager at Fireworks Kingdom, said importing fireworks had become “very difficult and unstable in the wake of Brexit”.
270. Next year’s harvest: UK fruit and vegetable growers plan to reduce planting for 2022 after unprecedented labour shortages led to widespread wastage of produce, with hundreds of tonnes of crops from broccoli to raspberries left to rot in the fields, according to the FT.
269. Tomatoes: Thanet Earth, one of the UK’s largest salad growing companies based in Kent, have had to destroy £320,000 of stock because of problems finding workers to pick and drivers to deliver their produce, according to local Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale speaking in the House of Commons.
268. Strawberries: Sharrington Strawberries in Norfolk have lost 20% of their crop this year which remains unharvested after losing a third of their seasonal workforce following Brexit despite paying up to 50% more in wages.
267. The City of London: The City is being warned to brace itself for a €900bn per day (this is not a typo) Brexit hit if Brussels ‘plays politics’ with clearing of euro-denominated derivatives in London says City AM commentator Michiel Willems.
266. M&S: After announcing the closure of 11 stores in France, Marks & Spencer has been forced to cut 800 lines from its stores in the Republic of Ireland, including items like free-range chicken, orchids and goods containing Parmesan Reggiano as a result of complex rules and excessive paperwork caused by Brexit.
265. Local Authorities: The cost of creating two new day centres to tackle dementia issues in Kirklees has jumped by almost a third: from £8m to £11m. The increase has been blamed by The Local Democracy Reporting Service on “significant rises in construction materials associated with Covid and Brexit”.
264. Increased duty: UK businesses and consumers have paid 42% more in customs duties on goods since Brexit came into force on 1 January of this year. The jump to £2.2bn is a new record coming mainly as a result of goods imported from the EU failing to meet rules of origin. The figures were obtained by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young.
263. Energy costs: Having left the EU internal energy market and the day-ahead market coupling arrangements, imported power via the continental interconnectors is now by explicit auction and is likely to result in higher electricity prices for UK consumers in future according to research by energy consultants EnAppSys.
262. Blood tests: The British Medical Association is warning of a ‘catastrophic’ crisis in blood testing as the NHS struggles with a shortage of vials used for blood sample. The main manufacturer, Becton Dickinson, has been blamed for the crisis, but they have suggested the post-Brexit HGV driver shortage could be to blame.
261. Driving standards: The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that HGV driving tests are to be relaxed to allow 50,000 more to be taken in an attempt to tackle the shortage of lorry drivers ahead of Christmas. For example, reversing, uncoupling and recoupling trailer tests will removed – and drivers will be tested separately on this by a third party.
260. Pollution: The Environment Agency has advised polluters that dumping raw sewage into rivers and the sea will be allowed as the discharge of effluent “without meeting the conditions” of their permits. It comes as businesses struggle to obtain water treatment chemicals because of supply chain disruption at ports blamed primarily on Britain’s departure from the EU.
259. Construction: Jewson, one of Britain’s biggest builders’ merchants has warned of shortages of materials as the industry struggles under mounting pressure from the deepest supply chain crisis in decades. It comes amid growing disruption linked to Covid and Brexit. “Material and staff costs went through the roof” due to “employee moves [and] overseas worker availability” said Duncan Brock of The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS).
258. Housing: Brexit is being blamed for making the building of affordable homes on a Derbyshire housing site ‘unviable’. Langridge Homes says providing affordable homes on a 47-house scheme at Riddings is not viable after “unprecedented” 24% post-Brexit cost increases.
257. Pigs: Farmers may be forced to incinerate nearly 100,000 pigs due to a post-Brexit shortage of butchers after the profession was excluded from a list of so-called ‘Shortage Occupations.’ Industry figures say slaughterhouses are already becoming starved of qualified workers, with a backlog of 85,000 pigs awaiting slaughter and growing by 15,000 every week
256. Ikea: The home furnishings retailer Ikea is struggling to supply around 1,000 product lines to UK customers due to Brexit and lorry driver shortage with all 22 UK stores experiencing ‘ongoing challenges’ with supply chains, according to The Independent.
255. Coca Cola: LBC claim we may experience a shortage of Diet Coke and Coke Zero in shops as Coca-Cola issued a warning about availability of aluminium cans, the latest in a series of supply chain issues that have affected UK consumers, blamed widely on Brexit, Covid-19 and a lack of available qualified lorry drivers in the UK.
254. Food exports: Exports of food and drink to the EU have suffered a “disastrous” decline in the first half of the year because of Brexit trade barriers, with sales of beef and cheese hit hardest the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) say. Producers lost £2bn in sales, a dent in revenue that could not be compensated for by the increased sales in the same period to non-EU countries including China and Australia.
253. House plants: House plants such as aspidistra, yucca and cactus have become more expensive because of Brexit red tape, as garden centres warn new rules have made it more difficult to import stock according to the Horticultural Trades Association and reported by The Daily Telegraph (£).
252. Beer: Wetherspoons has been hit by beer shortages due to supply chain issues caused by Brexit. The company said supplies of Carling and Coors beer have been hit, with some pubs not receiving deliveries and they have blamed lorry driver and factory staff shortages, LBC report.
251. Buses: Bus operator Stagecoach has been forced to cancel services in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud because of the national driver shortage. The company laid the blame on Brexit and the pandemic according to local news outlets.
250. Rising prices: Food prices are set to rise later this year as the shortage of lorry drivers and more regulatory checks on imported food combine with rising prices for fuel, freight and raw materials, experts have warned in a report in The Financial Times (£).
August 2021 ⇓
249. Books: Authors Hilary Mantel and William Boyd have issued a stark warning that the UK book industry faces collapse if “disgraceful” post-Brexit changes to copyright rules, being considered by the government, go ahead.
248. Christmas workers: A shortage of fruit pickers in the UK is set to spread to warehouse workers in the run-up to Christmas, according to Gary Grant, head of toy chain The Entertainer. Mr Grant said a workforce of largely eastern European migrants work on farms in the summer and swap to picking boxes in warehouses later in the year.
247. School meals: Schools have been warned to prepare for food shortages ahead of the new school year and urged by wholesalers to “stock up” according to The Grocer. The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has again called on the government to look at introducing a temporary visa scheme to allow HGV drivers from the EU to fill vacancies.
246. Paperwork: The boss of lawnmower manufacturer Allets, says they have had “more paperwork in the last five months than they did in the previous five years, as far as exports are concerned” and the company has had to recruit an employee to look after the “hell” of post-Brexit red tape.
245. Christmas: The head of the Co-op supermarket has said that current food shortages were the worst he had ever seen, while the boss of the Iceland frozen food chain warned that supply disruption could see Christmas “cancelled” for some families this year.
244. GB Stickers: From 31 September British cars in Europe must display a UK sticker instead of the old GB plate. This is said to be a sign of solidarity with Northern Ireland, which is not part of GB. The change has not been formally announced but was spotted as a footnote in UN regulations by the AA, which says it has 50,000 items of stock it will now need to change.
243. Shortages: The UK economy has been plunged into a supply chain crisis, with major retailers’ stock levels at their the lowest since 1983 as a result of worker shortages and transport disruption caused by Covid and Brexit. This is reported in The Guardian using retail industry tracking trends provided by the CBI.
242. SMEs: Nearly a third of medium-sized businesses plan to drastically change their operations to cope with the new post-Brexit UK-EU trading relationship, according to a report in CityAM. Research by accountancy firm BDO reveals 32 per cent of mid-sized businesses think they need to alter their business model to remain viable.
241. Students: Students due to start a university year in Spain, which has overtaken France as the top destination for UK students wanting a year abroad, face visa delays, with some unsure whether they will be able to take up their places this year. Brexit means they now need visas. Some have waited more than a month for a visa appointment.
240. Labour shortages: Avara Foods, a chicken and turkey supplier has told Sky News: “Our company is not currently experiencing any significant inconvenience regarding the ‘pingdemic’. Our concern is recruitment and filling vacancies when the UK workforce has been severely depleted as a result of Brexit; this is causing stress on UK supply chains in multiple sectors.
239. Loss of EU funding: Wales is being hardest hit by the post Brexit loss of EU Structural Funds, latest figures have shown. The £373m lost by Wales is more than double that of Scotland (£125m) and most of the English regions that have previously received European Union support, making a mockery of the government’s ‘levelling up agenda,’ say Labour.
238. Brain drain: Nearly half of British business leaders fear losing the UK’s best talent abroad following the pandemic and Brexit, according to new research. Almost a third of respondents at mid- and junior-level said in the survey by MovePlan, a workplace change management provider, and headhunter Hanson Search, that they feel pessimistic about the UK’s chances to compete for the best talent and attract global businesses post Brexit.
237. Loss of EU funding: So called ‘Red Wall’ and other poorer areas of England will lose up to £1bn of development cash this year because of Brexit and despite promises to match EU grants. Just £220m is being made available across the whole of the UK for 2021-22 and no money has yet been handed out at all – even though the financial year is nearly halfway over.
236. Kent: Operation Brock, a temporary traffic management system designed to cope with queues of lorries heading for the EU, due to end by October 2021, is being made permanent, signalling the government expects further cross-Channel disruption.
235. Roaming charges: Vodafone, the UK’s third largest mobile phone provider, will reintroduce roaming charges of up to £2 a day for new and upgrading UK customers who travel in mainland Europe from next year. Customers travelling to Ireland will be exempt. EE and O2 have already announced changes to their roaming charges for European travel.
234. Immigration: The UK’s new net migration statistics show it has gone up to 313,000 over the past year to March, a rise of about one-third from 221,000 a year ago fuelled by 715,000 people who came to the UK over the previous 12 months. This is a four-year high of migration from non-EU countries, where the UK has tighter controls. Getting Brexit done has not seen immigration go down; it has driven it up.
233. Pets: The cost of an Animal Health Certificate issued by an Official Veterinarian, required in order to take your pet to an EU member state, is £180 takes ten days to obtain and is valid for four months. See also item 10 below.
232. Staff shortages: A garden centre in Plymouth is being forced to give away £100k worth of plants for free this weekend due to staff shortages. Team leader Matt Pollard says: “With the advent of Brexit and the departure of many European staff from the UK, we are suffering the same problem as many other businesses in the South West in finding suitable staff who want to work.”
231. Hospitality: More than 90,000 EU workers have left the UK in a mass Brexit exodus, according to The Daily Express. The hospitality sector took a huge hit over the past year due to the UK leaving the EU with the number of vacancies soaring by 342% based on figures from the jobs site caterer.com.
230. Fishing: Government boasts about increased fishing quotas have been branded “codswallop” by industry experts. While quotas have increased the amount being caught has not, because the fish “don’t exist.” Terri Portmann, who advised MPs after Brexit, said: “Fishermen have been stitched up.”
229. Logistics: Brexit has damaged the UK’s position as a gateway to Europe for imported goods and increased red tape according to Robert Larkin, director of Med Freight Services near London. Goods destined for Europe, which once arrived in the UK, now get shipped directly to the EU.
228. Japanese Investment: Netherlands was the top destination for Japanese direct foreign investment into financial services in the years 2017-2020 with nearly US$12bn compared to net disinvestment in UK of just over US$4bn while jobs in UK Japanese financial services companies grew 9% over same period.
227. Standards: Components for cars and fridges could fall into a legal limbo as Brexit red tape holds up supply chains due to a lack of capacity for testing certain goods ahead of the 1 January 2022 UKCA compliance deadline. Manufacturing is at risk from serious disruption because the government has failed to provide a suitable replacement for the EU’s CE safety standards system.
226. Clearing: UK financial regulators appear resigned to losing access to the EU market next year when a temporary equivalence agreement comes to an end. London based clearinghouses may have to offload EU banks and their clients, losing £millions, if not £billions, in revenue by cutting off overnight an entire bloc worth of swaps that need to be traded via a clearinghouse.
225. Travellers: From the end of 2022 UK travellers to EU member states will have to get authorisation and pay €7 to enter the EU’s Schengen Zone. The fee will cover multiple visits over a three years period. The EU have announced that its European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is on track.
224. Poultry: Soanes Poultry near Market Weighton has had to cut back its production by around ten per cent cent because of the twin impacts of the UK’s departure from the EU and the pandemic. The normal 100-strong workforce had shrunk by as much as 20%, mainly because migrant workers from EU countries had gone back home after Brexit and had not returned.
223. Pumpkins: Freshlands Farm, based in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, said it had lost tens of thousands of pumpkins as it had not been able to hire any workers to clear weeds from the fields. In just one field the company had lost half of the 90,000 pumpkins due to weeds.
222. Vegetables: One of the UK’s biggest vegetable producers says it is losing thousands of pounds a week and having to throw away food due to a labour shortage with Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit to blame. The workforce at Alfred G Pearce, based near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, is 20% to 30% down on previous years.
July 2021 ⇓
221. Ex pats: British expats in Cyprus are tasting the bitter side of the UK exiting the European Union as they fall victim to Brexit red tape. Lengthy bureaucratic procedures, increasingly difficult transportation, and higher taxes, topped up by coronavirus restrictions, has seen them deprived of their favourite UK made delicacies.
220. Trade: The North East England Chamber of Commerce has written to Boris Johnson to say that Brexit has led to a drop in exports as well as difficulties such as shortage of HGV drivers and increased costs related to added bureaucracy. They fear further damage if the UK deviates too far from EU regulations.
219. Trade: Seven months after Britain’s exit from the EU, the chilly effects on UK trade are being felt. Total exports of UK goods and services were down by 13% (£36bn) and imports down 22% (£66bn) for January to May 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
218. M&S Sandwiches: The chairman of Marks & Spencer, Archie Norman, has said that exports of its popular gourmet sandwiches to its stores in France could stop altogether, if Brexit results in border challenges, the Financial Times has reported. Norman said that as its products are transported to France every day through the Channel Tunnel, additional border complications could see supply cut off.
217. Milk: Supermarkets could face a “summer of disruption” to milk deliveries if widespread driver shortages continue. Arla Foods, the UK’s biggest dairy supplier, was unable to deliver to 600 shops last Saturday due to dwindling driver numbers, amid fierce competition for specialist HGV drivers caused by a mix of Brexit, the pandemic and tax changes that have prompted some drivers to leave the trade.
216. Vets: The UK is facing a critical shortage of vets, set to intensify as new EU export rules kick in, industry insiders have warned. The number of EU vets arriving in Britain – which has traditionally plugged the shortfall in UK-trained vets – has dropped dramatically compounded by a surge in pet ownership in the past 18 months and Brexit rules demanding more vets to sign export health certificates.
215. Food shortages: Disruption to supplies in Scottish shops and restaurants are largely due to Brexit – not the “pingdemic” – say independent food retailers. They report that one major issue is hauliers from the EU have cut the UK from their routes. Some suppliers in European countries are also finding other buyers for their produce, because of the costs involved in post-Brexit paperwork.
214. Law & Justice: The EU has barred Britain from joining a European accord for recognising civil court rulings, a move that could bump up costs for individuals and small companies seeking legal redress abroad. Britain’s membership of the accord, known as the Lugano Convention, ended in December last year and an application to rejoin had been rejected (see 145 below).
213. The cost of Brexit: While £4.8bn has been allocated by the government to the new Levelling Up Fund, some £12bn has been spent on the logistics of being out of the EU, plus an estimated £40bn in lost trade with Europe since the end of January and £130bn wasted on Brexit from 2016 to 2020, means more than 38 times more being spent on Brexit than levelling up.
212. HGV driver shortage: A leading haulage group based in Wales has pleaded for help over the worst driver shortage the company has seen in its 50-year history, and blames Brexit. “The driver situation is in crisis, it’s a problem that has been smoking for a number of years and now we are on fire,” said Ian Owen, managing director of Owens Group.
211. The cost of Brexit: A new analysis by The Centre for European Reform estimates that leaving the single market and customs union at the end of December 2020 had reduced UK trade by £10bn, or 13.5 percent, in May. The think tank said this was on top of a £8bn, or 10 percent, hit to trade between the June 2016 referendum and splintering away from the single market.
210. EU workers: A recruitment agency in Leicester warns of a big shortfall in EU workers coming to the UK. Ed Vigars operations director at Encore Personnel, said, ‘EU workers have left and aren’t returning … we’ve never seen anything like this in 20 years.’ Warnings include suggestions that 60 percent of vegetable packers have said they’re leaving or have already left.
209. Skiing: Brexit threatens not only thousands of resort jobs, but the future of British ski holidays according to an article in The Telegraph. UK travel companies who once employed thousands of UK staff are no longer accepting applications from British citizens, unless they have a dual passport or a right to reside in an EU country.
208. Classic cars: A report by insurance company Hagerty reveals the extra bureaucracy and paperwork due to Brexit is expected to hinder business. They highlight the Access/Temporary Access Carnet, a passport for goods that guarantees items will return from the EU which involves a 40 per cent returnable bond, means a car worth £1m will need an upfront payment of £400,000.
207. Hauliers: A survey by Haulage Exchange, a logistics software company, shows over half of British haulage firms have already made or are considering moving some operations into the EU due to a “perfect storm” of post-Brexit red tape impacts and driver shortages still hitting the sector.
206. Charity sector: The White Rose Initiative, a small Huddersfield charity, is facing a devastating legal battle that could lead it to ruin after being slapped with a ‘Brexit bill’ for shipping aid to Romania. Their hauliers have demanded an extra £4,000 on top of the agreed £2,600 bill.
205. Takeaways: Research by online food delivery service Foodhub has revealed takeaway restaurants across the country have been experiencing rising costs of ingredients like flour, chips, chicken and cheese and delays at ports because of Brexit.
204. Skiing trips: School skiing trips that rely on British personnel to staff their EU winter camps could be wiped out by Brexit after it emerged they are facing the same obstacles to travel as the music and theatre sectors, according to The Guardian.
203. Haribo: The German confectionery giant, makers of Starmix, Goldbears and Tangfastic, say they are “experiencing challenges” due to a shortage of lorry drivers which is affecting deliveries to all major supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, as well as other shops.
June 2021 ⇓
202. Trade: Flour exports from Britain to Ireland have fallen sharply. The National Association of British and Irish Millers (Nabim) estimate that imports of British flour to the Republic have fallen by up to 25 percent since the start of this year, replaced by alternative suppliers in NI, France and Germany.
201. Horizon: UK scientists have missed out on £1.5bn in Horizon 2020 funds since the country voted to leave the EU in 2016. Campaigners say that the figures reveal the extent to which Brexit uncertainty damaged collaborations between UK researchers and their colleagues across Europe.
200. Red tape cost: British businesses will spend £7.5bn a year handling customs declarations — as much as they would have done under a no-deal Brexit, Jim Harra, chief executive of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), told MPs. The number of customs forms needed to trade with the European Union under the Brexit deal “is not materially different from a no-deal situation”.
199. Trade: Almost a third of British companies that trade with the EU have suffered a decline or loss of business since post-Brexit rules took effect, according to a survey conducted for the FT. The survey, carried out by the Institute of Directors, also found that 17 per cent of UK companies that previously traded with the EU have stopped — either temporarily or permanently.
198. Food shortages: Worsening supermarket food shortages are now “inevitable” in the coming weeks as labour shortages across the food supply chain approach crunch point, according to The Grocer. Many of the factors fuelling the driver shortages are now causing problems in other sectors: EU workers returning home due to Brexit and covid, new visas requirements and the winding down of furlough placing a renewed strain on the labour pool.
197. Labour shortages: A shortage of building labour is threatening construction work. Since the referendum there has been an exodus of skilled EU workers from the UK, felt most keenly in London and the problem could get worse during the summer, when many remaining EU employees intend to take extended holidays back home.
196. Small orders shipped to the EU: From 1 July, the EU will remove the €22 threshold for duties on parcels imported from non-EU origins which will then require customs clearance, payment of VAT and, depending on national thresholds, customs duties. This comes after protests from EU-based merchants, over a flood of cheap online purchases from China putting them at a competitive disadvantage.
195. Irish trade: A collapse in British exports to Ireland since Brexit has handed Dublin an extraordinary trade surplus with London. The Irish government say red tape explains a €2bn plunge in the value of goods sales – 47.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the start of 2020. According to ONS figures the UK has previously recorded an overall trade surplus with Ireland every year since 1999.
194. Exporters state aid: UK exporters have been given more than £12bn in state financial support to keep Britain trading with the rest of the world through Brexit and the pandemic. UK Export Finance, provided British businesses with the highest level of financial support in 30 years in the year to the end of March, almost treble the amount from 2019-20.
193. Roaming charges: One of the UK’s biggest mobile phone networks has announced roaming charges for Britons travelling to the EU. Customers of O2 have been told they will be billed £3.50 for every gigabyte (GB) of data used above a new limit of 25GB, from August. Roaming charges were scrapped by the EU in 2017.
192. Dover: UK Border Force have warned that new passport checks required by French authorities could reduce the “flow rate” through Dover’s passport lanes to “50 people per hour, per lane” — about a tenth of pre-Brexit flows, creating disruption and long tailbacks. Dover currently has just five passport lanes and on a busy holiday weekend can expect up to 20,000 passenger vehicles per day.
191. Film and TV: The EU are to launch a proposal to reduce the “disproportionate” amount of British programming on European television, threatening the near £500m of annual UK television and video-on-demand sales into the EU market, according to The Guardian.
190. Broadcasters: 250 broadcasting licences migrated from the UK to the EU due to Brexit. Half of the channels available in Europe outside their country of origin fell under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom in 2018, declining to 10 percent at the end of 2020. Over a quarter of international channels in Europe are now licensed in the Netherlands, with a fifth licensed in Luxembourg.
189. Horse Racing: Brexit has left British breeders and trainers mired in paperwork. The number of British trained runners in races in the EU fell by 67 percent, compared to a 23 percent reduction in races across the rest of the world. The British Horseracing Authority has called for red tape to be cut.
188. Poppies: The Royal British Legion has been forced to abandon sales of poppies online in the European Union because of the extra costs and bureaucracy it faces following Brexit. Its decision to stop selling to customers in the EU coincides with exporters reporting large falls in sales to the bloc because of new taxes and paperwork.
187. Meat production: The UK faces shortages of British-produced meat as problems with recruitment continue. EU migrants have been returning home due to Brexit effects including a weaker pound, a trend exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, the British Poultry Council (BPC) said as the poultry industry reported a 10 percent fall in the number of birds being slaughtered for meat in recent weeks.
186. Food exports: UK food and drink exports to the European Union almost halved in the first three months of the year, compared to the same period in 2020 according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Figures show EU sales dropped by 47 percent. The FDF say the decline was largely due to changes in the UK’s trading relationships, but said the pandemic was also a factor.
185. Fresh produce being dumped: The shortage of HGV drivers (see 179 below) is causing perfectly good, graded and packed fresh produce to be dumped or rot in cold stores, waiting for transport while supermarket shelves and restaurant plates are going empty. This is according to Nationwide Produce Ltd, a grower, supplier and importer of a range of fresh fruit and vegetables from around the World.
184. Manufacturing: British manufacturers are likely to have less protection against cheap imports from the UK’s post-Brexit trade regulator than they had under the EU regime, The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) has said. They have already scrapped “safeguard” tariffs in more than 50 areas since the UK left the EU, Oliver Griffiths, its chief executive, told the Financial Times.
183. Shortages: A combination of problems – including the burden of Brexit paperwork, has increased competition for shipping container space and delayed delivery times resulting in a shortage of building supplies, garden furniture and packaging materials.
182. Fruit pickers: Brexit has led ‘to a 90% drop’ in the number of foreign workers coming to the UK to work on farms in the summer. Stephen Taylor of Winterwood Farms ltd says, “95 per cent of all fruit and produce picked and packaged in this country is done by eastern Europeans. We are not talking about a few tens of thousands, we are talking hundreds of thousands of people less to work in the UK. That’s a massive hole.”
181. Customs: Concerns are being raised about the UK’s capacity to process millions of delayed customs declarations on EU goods imported into the UK since 1 January. The grace period ends 1 July with the first delayed declarations due on 25 June. UK Customs is said to be “looking down the barrel of a potential nightmare” with a risk that many importers will be unable to find customs brokers or will fail to declare goods, meaning HMRC will lose much needed customs revenue.
180. Timber imports: According to the Timber Trade Federation, 52 per cent of UK timber imports come from the EU. Before 2021, just 10 per cent required due diligence to ensure negligible risk of illegal timber entering the UK market from non EU countries. As a result of Brexit, this will now rise to 62 per cent, presenting the UK industry with substantial challenges, say the TTF.
179. HGV Drivers: The Road Haulage Association says the UK has lost 15,000 drivers since Brexit. Experts warn that this will lead to a shortage of everyday products on supermarket shelves by the autumn and add to pressure on prices.
178. Financial service: EU regulators have warned City of London firms against using a tactic known as chaperoning to avoid post-Brexit red tape. Ireland’s central bank said it “expects that firms are adequately resourced” which may require more jobs and funds to be transferred to EU member states.
177. Food imports: Imports of fruit and vegetables from Spain to Britain shot up by six percent in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2020 according to The Daily Express. The value of the Spanish produce imported into the UK reached £580million from January to April based on data supplied by the Spanish tax authority.
176. Food exporters: UK food companies are set to permanently cut ties with EU customers due to Brexit. Exporters are increasingly concerned that the second half of 2021 will see short-term Brexit disruption evolve into the permanent loss of certain EU markets, according to The Grocer magazine.
175. Eurostar: The Daily Mail say Britons travelling to France via Eurostar are being turned away for not having a ‘good enough reason’ after a rule change to block the spread of the Indian covid variant. From 2 June, Britons must give a ‘compelling reason’ for their trip. As a third country, UK citizens can only travel to France for reasons such as bereavement or childcare. The rule does not apply to French or other EU citizens.
174. Food prices: Shoppers face higher grocery bills as more EU red tape looms according to The Telegraph. Higher shipping and raw materials costs and EU red tape threaten consumers’ pockets, the British Retail Consortium have said. More Brexit checks from October are expected to force retailers to pass on further additional costs to shoppers.
May 2021 ⇓
173. Services exports: Researchers at Aston University have calculated that Brexit shrank UK services exports by more than £110bn between 2016 and 2019. They claim exports fell by a cumulative £113 billion compared to if the UK had not voted to quit the EU in June 2016.
172. Illegal immigrants: German & French governments confirm there will be no bilateral negotiations with Britain on returning asylum seekers who enter the UK. The EU Commission also confirms that ‘for the moment their focus is on implementing TCA’ – which does ‘not include provisions on asylum and return’ and they are ‘not considering pursuing further negotiations to complement TCA at the EU level’.
171. Norway fishing: After talks with Norway aimed at a fishing agreement collapsed in April, Norway have announced that licences for British vessels had stopped being issued until a new deal is agreed. Fiskebåt a fishing industry trade association claimed the UK was trying to “send the bill for Brexit to Norway and Norwegian fishermen” by taking a hard line.
170. Exports: Industrial pump manufacturer Verder Ltd told the UK Trade and Business Commission that packages are taking up to 68 days to get into Europe. Seventy-one deliveries have been lost with a value of around £50,000 since 1 January. “We see no improvement that Brexit offers, only a massive loss of business with our nearest market.”
169. M&S: Marks & Spencer’s financial results to 3 April 2021 confirm the new trade deal with the EU which came into operation in January has cost an additional £29m in administration and £13m in tariffs so far, £27-33m of which relate to operations in Ireland. M&S say they are reviewing business models, local sourcing and re-routing product through European hubs.
168. Exports to Ireland: Exports from Britain to Ireland fell by just over 47 percent in the first quarter of the year. It was the biggest percentage fall in exports to any of the UK’s top export countries recorded by the Office for National Statistics, Britain’s official statistics agency.
167. British homeowners in France: UK citizens who sell a French property must now use a fiscal representative for capital gains formalities on sales over €150,000 – the same as for all non-EU residents. These stricter post-Brexit rules are set to cost one couple, unable to provide all the correct documentation, an extra tax bill of €150,000.
166. Trade: Trade flows between the UK and EU slumped by more than a fifth in the first quarter of the year while trade with the rest of the world dropped by only 0.4 percent. But, say the Office for National Statistics, it is still too early to say how much was down to Brexit.
165. NI Food: Marks & Spencer is to start buying more food from EU states as it battles “obscene” border disruption in Northern Ireland. M&S plans to source more goods from companies on the continent as well as from Ireland and Northern Ireland, after struggling to get English goods across the Irish Sea, according to the Telegraph.
164. Steel: Britain’s steel industry faces a “hammer blow” that risks damaging the sector. A preliminary decision by the DIT to remove import “safeguards”, designed to protect domestic producers from a flood of cheap imports, needs to be “urgently rethought”, according to lobby group UK Steel. They warn it will have an adverse impact on steel manufacturers in Wales and north-east England.
163. Food exports: Milk and cream exports to the EU were down 96 percent in February. Cheese exports were down 65 percent and chicken and beef sales also down by nearly 80 percent – all year-on-year figures. The Food and Drink Federation says Brexit has cost British exporters more than £1.1bn since the start of the year.
162. Travellers: UK visitors to France and Spain may be asked to show proof of their accommodation – potentially including an official certificate, obtained in advance, if they are staying with friends or family – once Covid restrictions are lifted. Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa should submit an attestation d’accueil (accommodation certificate), a process taking up to a month.
161. Exports to Ireland: Data from the Irish Central Statistics Office for March shows a 46 percent spike to more than €3.1bn in goods imported from the EU, and a corresponding slump in British imports to the Republic, which fell by almost a third to less than €1bn.
160. Financial sector: The City of London’s “Golden Age” as Europe’s financial capital is over following Brexit, NatWest chairman Howard Davies said today. The City has been largely cut off from the EU since Britain’s full departure last December, with bankers and City officials not expecting any direct access to the bloc anytime soon.
159. Farming: NFU President Minette Batters says it’s clear that negotiators from Australia and New Zealand are sticking to their hardline demands for the complete removal of tariffs on all their exports to the UK. This, she adds, would make life unbearable for small British family farms competing with imports produced in a very different manner.
158. Musicians: Research by the Incorporated Society of Musicians found that 94 percent of respondents had been negatively affected by the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. The first 100 days have been a “disaster” for the British music industry and the government has made almost no progress in addressing problems raised by visas, customs and other controls the Financial Times report.
157. UK grown fresh fruit: Supermarkets face post-Brexit fruit and veg scarcity thanks to shortage of skilled pickers, says The Mirror. The government’s failure to allow in enough EU workers and new rules restricting visas for seasonal pickers are expected to leave tonnes of crops to rot, while shelves lie empty.
156. Retirees: Dreams of retiring to Europe have been dashed for many says The Telegraph. Bureaucratic ‘complications’, have forced retirees to reconsider plans, amid worries about losing state pension rights and access to healthcare. Brits who relocate to the EU after living previously in Australia, Canada or New Zealand could have their state pensions dramatically slashed.
155. Construction: A combination of covid and Brexit has caused a crisis for the UK construction industry with shortages, delays and soaring prices affecting projects across the country. Timber costs 80 percent more than in November, steel joists are up by more than 80 percent. Aluminium is up by about a quarter, copper by 40 percent, plastics by 60 percent and paints by about a third.
154. Silver and jewellery: British silversmiths are being frustrated trying to sell silver and gold into the European Union after the Brexit trade deal failed to recognise the UK’s centuries-old hallmarks. The Telegraph claims hallmarking was overlooked in the Brexit trade deal and says the problems also affect jewellery.
153. Foreign direct investment: According to data from fDi Markets, a Financial Times-owned company tracking foreign investments, in the five years to March 2021, the number of FDI projects into the UK was up only 12 percent compared with the previous five years, well below the 33 percent expansion seen across EU countries.
152. UK economy: Britain’s economy is on track to suffer more than £700bn of lost output caused by Covid-19 and Brexit, according to The National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
151. Illegal immigrants: The Home Office has been unable to persuade any European state to sign up to Priti Patel’s scheme for deporting migrants who enter the UK illegally to safe countries such as “France and other EU countries.” The UN’s refugee agency is expected to conclude her plans infringe international legislation and are unworkable.
150. Financials: The City of London lost £2.3tn ($3.3tn) of its lucrative derivatives trading business in March alone, with Wall Street trading platforms gaining the most from Brexit. According to Bloomberg, US swap-execution facilities took market share in trades in euros, pounds and dollars at London’s expense.
149. Freeports: The government has admitted companies located in new freeports will be unable to export tariff free to 23 countries including Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Singapore, due to clauses in the free trade agreements recently signed. Manufacturers in freeport-type zones are specifically prohibited from benefiting from the new deals.
148. HGV drivers: An exodus of EU lorry drivers from the UK since Brexit has left the British haulage and logistics industry facing an acute staff shortage and a looming crisis for industrial and retail deliveries, the sector has warned. Freight companies say unless urgent steps were taken to address shortages, strains now visible within the industry would become evident to the public by the end of the summer.
147. Trade: A study by the London School of Economics drawing on real-time business data from the CBI up to April, shows that more than three out of five UK firms (61 percent) are reporting difficulties due to Brexit, resulting in rising costs, higher prices for consumers and reduced competitiveness.
146. Food exports: A British-owned supermarket chain supplying expats in Belgium was forced to close two stores last weekend (Whitsun), unable to obtain supplies from the UK. Stonemanor hasn’t had a delivery since before the New Year and is now turning to Irish suppliers due to difficulties getting goods from Britain since Brexit.
145. Law and justice: The EU Commission has recommended that the EU does not give consent for the UK to join the Lugano Convention, an international legal pact that allows legal judgements to be enforced across borders. All EU countries plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland are members. As a third country the UK must fall back on the Hague convention.
144. Pig farmers: Pig producers still cannot export breeding stock to Europe and in February sales of pig meat to the EU, were down 80 percent by value. High feed prices and low pig prices have led to significant losses with the AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) reporting the average producer was already losing £25 on every finished pig sold in the fourth quarter of 2020.
April 2021 ⇓
143. Fishing: The UK has failed to reach fishing access deal with Norway which means the British distant-waters fleet have no rights to fish in Norwegian sub-Arctic waters in 2021. UK Fisheries, owners of the super trawler Kirkella, employs around 100 crewmen in Hull, but will have to decide what presence it can have in Hull without viable fishing opportunities in its traditional grounds.
142. Food exports: Sales of milk and cream to the EU are down by 96 percent – and chicken and beef by nearly 80 percent – because of Brexit. Overall, the trade barriers erected in Boris Johnson’s deal have cost exporters more than £1.1bn since the start of the year, the Food and Drink Federation says.
141. Wine exports: WineGB, the trade association for English and Welsh wine, estimates that new customs paperwork and labelling requirements adds up £5 to the cost of a bottle of English sparkling wine at retail in Europe. Shipping costs to Europe have also soared from £140 per pallet to £500-£700.
140. Food exports to the EU: The UK food industry warns that new post-Brexit red tape which came into effect this week (April 2021) will increase export paperwork by a third and make some sales to Europe unviable. The EU has introduced a wave of new requirements for composite (multi-ingredient) food products entering the bloc from third countries like the UK.
139. Inward investment: An academic report in the Journal Science Direct shows that by March 2019 the number of EU27 investment projects in the UK since the referendum has declined by around 9 percent while outward investment transactions from the UK into the EU27 rose by 17 percent, illustrating that being a smaller economy than the EU leaves the UK more exposed to the costs of economic disintegration.
138. Used cars: Since the UK became a third country on 1 January, used cars imported into Ireland from Britain that were originally manufactured in the EU or another country outside the EU, must have VAT of 21 percent paid on the invoice price. Up until last year, around 100,000 used cars each year were imported into Ireland from Britain, a market that may no longer be viable.
137. Drugs: UK pharmaceutical companies making non-branded drugs have already started to withdraw medicines from the Northern Ireland market because they cannot afford to meet the costs of new post-Brexit red tape, according to industry leaders and reported by the Financial Times.
136. Aerospace industry: Four months after the trade deal was struck, aerospace firms are still struggling to secure EU signoff for British-designed parts and approval for maintenance work on planes registered in the bloc. At the same time, the UK Civil Aviation Authority is granting automatic recognition to rival European players.
135. Universities: Applications for undergraduate courses starting in 2021/22, from EU member states, the UK’s number one overseas student market, have plummeted by 40 percent but it is Brexit and not Covid-19 that is to blame according to University World News.
134. Pigeons: Pigeon fanciers say new Brexit rules for long-distance European races could “kill” their sport. Under EU rules due to become law next week, UK birds must be detained for three weeks before they can be released in France for trans-Channel races, leading to fears that they would be unfit to race after being cooped up for so long.
133. Banks: The New Financial think tank said on 16 April that more than 400 financial firms in Britain have shifted activities, staff and a combined trillion pounds in assets to hubs in the EU due to Brexit. They believe even this is an underestimate and “expect the numbers to increase over time: we are only at the end of the beginning of Brexit”.
132. Exports: The EU’s statistics office Eurostat said EU imports from Britain fell 47 percent year-on-year in January-February to €16.6bn while exports to the UK declined only 20.2 percent to €39.8bn. As a result, the EU’s trade surplus with Britain rose to €23.2bn in the first two months after Britain’s Brexit transition period expired.
131. Import charges: A survey conducted by consumer champion Which? found that UK consumers buying products from retailers based in the EU are being hit with unexpected delivery fees of up to £300. More than 40 percent of those who ordered products online in the first six weeks of the year experienced issues with their purchases. The consumer group polled 2,000 people.
130. Exports: The British Chambers of Commerce’s Trade Confidence Outlook in survey of more than 2,900 UK exporters revealed that the percentage of firms reporting decreased export sales has increased to 41%, up from 38% in the previous quarter.
129. Steel: British steel exports to the EU have plunged by a third in a fresh blow to the industry. Shipments from the UK to the bloc dipped to just under 420,000 tonnes in the first three months of the year, as the sector grappled with the prime minister’s Brexit deal, reports the Daily Mirror.
128. Nematodes: These parasitic worms are used by amateur gardeners and commercial growers across Europe as a natural pest-control solution, but since Brexit not a single shipment to Europe from a BASF plant in Littlehampton has been possible due to bureaucratic hurdles according to a report in the FT.
127. Car spare parts: Delays and surcharges as a result of Brexit are causing havoc in the vehicle aftersales industry, with independent garages refusing to work on some vehicles and cars stuck in workshops across the country. An engine ordered in November 2020 has been marooned at Felixstowe docks since the first week of January, with the vehicle stuck in a busy garage in East Sussex.
126. Antiques: Dealers fear cross border trade in antiques will be “decimated” by paperwork after Brexit. HMRC said: “There is no general relief from import charges for second hand goods, meaning customs declarations will be required and import taxes will be due unless any specific relief applies.”
125. NI trade: Haulage firms estimate that the cost of shipping a single pallet of goods to Northern Ireland from Great Britain has increase from £100 before Brexit to between £150 and £450 to cover the new administration costs alone due to the sea border arrangements set out in the NI protocol.
124. Extradition: Ten EU member states have said they will no longer extradite their nationals to the UK following Brexit. Countries including France, Germany and Poland will refuse to allow the extradition of their nationals. Two more – Austria and the Czech Republic – will only hand over suspects to the UK with their consent.
123. UK immigrants to Spain: Spain is expecting to deport 500 UK citizens within days, after the first 90-day limit for non-residents expired. UK immigrants who were living in Spain under EU freedom of movement rights and failed to secure permanent residency in time are being forced to return to the UK, some in tears declaring “the dream is over”.
122. Sausages: A British company whose sausages are made in Germany from British pork has switched to sourcing from Denmark after two attempts since January to send British produce failed. Helen Browning’s Organic says it has been forced to drop its support for UK farmers and switch to Danish suppliers.
121. Meat: British meat companies, in a new report, say systemic weaknesses in the current export system and mountains of red tape point to a potential permanent loss of trade of between 20 and 50 percent.
120. Flowers: Kevin Haynes, horticulture manager at Taylors Bulbs, Holbeach said he expects the firm to harvest around a third of their 2.5 million daffodil harvest this year due to a lack of pickers. In a normal year Taylors employ around 150 pickers but this year they have just 30.
119. Flying: From late June this year some GPS-based procedures known as LPV (localiser precision approach with vertical guidance) will no longer be available following the loss of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service.
118. Credit cards: Visa is to raise its “interchange fees” — a levy charged on every debit or credit card payment using its network — for cross-border transactions between the UK and EU. Brussels capped interchange fees for all transactions inside the EU in 2015, the UK’s departure on 1 January means the limit no longer applies to payments between Britain and the bloc.
117. Aviation: The chief executive of Jota Aviation says the trade deal has given them the worst of both worlds. Increased competition domestically while cutting us off from Europe. EU airlines can object to UK carriers obtaining permits to fly to Europe, while the UK government refuses to allow the same right to object for UK operators against EU airlines.
116. Universities: Universities UK, in a letter to the prime minister, says thousands of jobs could be lost if UK research and innovation has to pay the annual £1bn bill, previously covered by EU membership fees, to stay in Horizon Europe.
115. Retailers: Two in three retailers are having difficulty importing products – from barbecues, spring bulbs and patio furniture, to sofas and laptops. The problems have been highlighted in a survey of 10,000 retailers by e-commerce experts EKM. Port congestion and Brexit red tape are being blamed according to the Daily Mail.
114. Hauliers: The chief executive of a Hull-based haulage firm claims new rules that only allow drivers to spend up to 90 days in the Schengen zone during any 180-day period, mean drivers are restricted to around 50 per cent of their previous time in Europe. EU drivers work under the same rules but can be in and out of the UK in two days while a journey to Italy could take eight days, resulting in fewer allowable trips.
113. Unfairness: The government’s recently announced delay to the date when import controls will apply to EU goods would add “ongoing unfairness” to UK exporters facing EU trade barriers while EU firms exporting to the UK benefit from unfettered access until January 2022, says Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation.
112. Japanese firms: The number of Japanese firms based in the UK fell 12 percent between 2014 and 2019, from 1,084 to 951 in contrast to a growing number of Japanese firms situating in the EU27. Between 2014 and 2019 the number of firms in the Netherlands grew by 67 percent, according to Rudling Consulting. There were also increases in Germany, France and Italy of 11, 7 and 53 percent respectively.
111. Food exports: New EU legislation covering multi-ingredient products, ranging from chocolate bars to curry sauces, is expected to increase the volume of UK export health certificates required to send food to the EU by up to one-third, industry associations warn.
110. Construction: The Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that thousands of overseas workers who have left the UK in the past year will not return, and post-Brexit immigration rules could put them off coming back, prompting fears of a “major skills shortage” from construction businesses and that plans to build 300,000 homes per year may be in jeopardy.
109. e-Commerce: Barriers to trade caused by Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal are set to cost UK e-commerce importers more than £5bn a year, a new report by international company ParcelHero has warned.
108. Northern Ireland: The Loyalist Communities Council say it has temporarily withdrawn support for the Good Friday Agreement because of concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol. The group, which includes representatives of loyalist paramilitaries, has written to the prime minister according to the BBC.
107. Travel reps: Thousands of seasonal staff employed by the British travel industry who previously based themselves in EU resorts are now at risk of losing their jobs because of work permits required after Brexit, the sector is warning.
106. Universities: UK universities are bracing for a difficult autumn when tuition fees for students from the EU will increase dramatically following Brexit. From September 2021, EU students will be charged fees at the international student rate, raising fears it will deter many from coming to the UK and hitting university income.
105. Flower growers: Under EU rules, flowers like snowdrops and rhododendrons cannot be exported from the UK (or any third country, except Switzerland who have negotiated an agreement) if it has touched British soil, the Mail on Sunday reports. One grower expects to lose in the region of £100,000 this year and in subsequent years.
104. Paint: Teal & Mackrill, a specialist paint manufacturer in Hull, is concerned about its future as the growing cost of regulatory burdens on chemicals after Brexit may mean they are unable to obtain some of the additives that make their paints distinctive. Geoff Mackrill says “The worry is that some of those materials that we use, may become unavailable because of those costs”.
103. Cycling: Brexit is negatively affecting the careers of British professional cyclists who are now restricted to only 90 days of travel every 180 days within the EU. That barely covers the pre-season training camps, let alone enough time to be able to race up to the Giro d’Italia in May or the Tour de France in August.
102. Clearing: Brussels will allow US clearing houses to operate throughout the EU in what could be a blow to the City of London’s largest clearing agencies. The move to allow American competitors to operate in the EU will be seen as a move by Brussels to clear the way to locking out the UK’s clearing houses next year.
101. Exporters: Almost one-in-four British exporters are planning on reducing their activity in the EU or eliminating it out entirely post-Brexit, according to a new survey from the British Chambers of Commerce / Moneycorp showed that 23 percent want to “either reduce their activity in the EU or have no activity at all” in the next 12 months.
100. Northern Ireland: A survey of 1,000 GB retailers has found that almost two thirds of them plan to stop selling to Northern Ireland within two months because of the Irish Sea border.
99. Pet food: The UK’s pet food industry is struggling to export to the EU because of red tape, vet shortages and hauliers refusing to accept animal-based products in case they are stopped at the border. By mid-February, just a third managed to export to the EU in 2021.
98. Language students: Thousands of UK students hoping to spend the year abroad are caught in limbo after facing major disruption to their travel plans due to post-Brexit red tape and costs, in respect of which universities say they received inadequate guidance from the government.
97. Shellfish: Fishermen in Cornwall say some are at risk of losing their homes because of an overnight ban on exporting their product to the EU.
96. Flower industry: UK growers of flowers and ornamental plants have warned that millions of blooms will go unharvested this year after the multibillion-pound sector was not included in a scheme to admit overseas farm workers after Brexit.
95. Trees: Orders for almost 100,000 trees have been cancelled by Northern Ireland buyers because of a post-Brexit ban on the plants being moved from Britain, according to the Guardian. The Woodland Trust alone has cancelled an order for 22,000 trees destined for schools and communities as part of a Northern Ireland greening project.
94. Eggs: Ungraded eggs, second-class eggs that aren’t high enough quality to be sent to the packing center for grading, can no longer be exported to the EU. These unmarked industrial eggs are used for fish-bait farming, rendered, or used in composting.
93. Processed Animal Protein: Farmers have been hit by the loss of EU markets for animal by-products according to the British Meat Processors Association. Rendered meat by-products going into the EU “must have been processed in a region considered as posing a negligible” risk for BSE and “At the moment, [Great Britain] does not have negligible BSE risk”.
92. Trade: There are reports that selling into the single market is becoming financially unviable for some companies. Director of trade facilitation at the British Chambers of Commerce Liam Smyth said the extra time and cost of trade with Europe had resulted in an exodus of British business from the market, which he feared would increase as time goes on.
91. Animal feed: Peter Kersch, managing director of World Feeds, Thorne, Doncaster says his business is being hampered by new red tape brought in in the wake of the UK’s Brexit deal with the EU and fears it will hit hard. Mr Kersch says “We can’t get anyone to transport our products into the EU” due to so many vehicles and consignments tied up awaiting clearance for new red tape and documentation.
90. Silk Industry: Bennett Silks in Stockport says clients on the continent will not accept the extra customs charges and duties, and will simply switch to using EU-based competitors. “Our only chance to retain EU business is to create a distribution centre in France”, which will have the effect of taking jobs and economic activity away from North-West England.
89. Distilleries: Many small UK gin and whisky distillers and suppliers are struggling to ship products to EU customers under new post-Brexit trading rules, the industry has warned. Multiple distilleries told the Financial Times that confusion over paperwork for alcohol shipments was making it next to impossible to ship single pallets of spirits to the EU.
88. Airlines: British cargo, charter and leasing airlines are losing contracts and business to EU rivals. The carriers say they are severely disadvantaged under the new trade regime because the rules allow greater freedom and flexibility for EU-owned airlines to fly in the UK than UK carriers have in Europe.
87. Duty Free limit: Travellers returning from the EU will be restricted to 18 litres of wine (24 bottles), 42 litres of beer and 4 litres of spirits or liqueurs over 22 percent in alcohol – plus up to 200 cigarettes.
86. Chemicals industry: 25 business heads have written a letter to the government expressing concerns about current plans for a new £1bn system of chemicals regulation, and warned it would “hit UK industry hard across a range of manufacturing sectors”.
85. Tax avoidance: On 31 December 2020 the UK repealed the existing law on tax transparency and replaced it by implementing the less strict OECD rules, which may lead to greater tax avoidance and lower tax revenues.
84. Trade deal scrutiny: The government has rejected a Lords amendment to the Trade Bill giving MPs greater scrutiny of trade deals. It means MPs will have less power than British MEPs had in the European parliament for all EU trade deals when the UK was an EU member state.
83. Food exports: Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), has told MPs on the International Trade Select Committee that food exports to Europe have been cut by at least half since the start of January despite the deal.
82. Charity sector: Since January, exports to the EU from ECS Textiles in North Shields have ground to a halt due to border delays, piles of paperwork and confusion over post-Brexit rules, costing charities thousands of pounds in lost donations each week.
81. Trade diversion: A Belfast deli owner has told the BBC they are now bringing a lot of our stuff in from the Republic of Ireland saying, “We can place an order on Monday and it will be here on Tuesday morning. There’s nothing to fill in – not a form, nothing at all”.
80. Overseas payments: UK residents trying to send money to banks and companies in Europe are having their transactions blocked as Brexit continues to cause hurdles and headaches. Those trying to send money abroad now have to provide an additional layer of detail when making payments as the UK is now classed as a third country under European payment rules.
79. Au pairs: Au pairs have been classified as skilled workers under new UK immigration rules and will now require a salary of at least £20,480 to obtain a work permit compared to the £100 per week plus free accommodation before Brexit, making the hiring of an au pair unaffordable for many people.
78. Motorsports: Motorsport UK says an ATA carnet will now be required to temporarily move motorsport vehicles and equipment into the EU. The carnets cost £330+VAT plus a refundable deposit of 40 percent of the vehicle’s value or a non-refundable insurance premium to cover the 40 percent proportion of the value.
77. Bees: A beekeeper trying to bring 15 million bees into the UK says he has been told they may be seized because of post-Brexit laws. Only queen bees can now be imported, rather than colonies and packages of bees. However, there is confusion over whether bees can be brought in via Northern Ireland. DEFRA is working with the devolved administrations to find a solution.
76. Investment funds: London’s smaller investment managers, who have not set up subsidiaries in the EU are struggling to negotiate new post-Brexit trading arrangements in order to continue serving European clients. Smaller funds have been hit disproportionately hard by the omission of financial services from the Brexit trade talks because they have been less able to prepare contingency plans.
75. Fashion: The UK’s £35bn fashion and textile industry is facing “decimation” as a result of red tape and travel restrictions thrown up by the new post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU.
74. Theatres: UK theatres have called for urgent clarification over post-Brexit touring provisions, warning of a major threat to the country’s previously thriving performing arts sector. They say, “even with a Brexit deal, significant obstacles have emerged that threaten our world-leading performing arts exports and imports, which also puts their economic, social and cultural contributions at risk”.
73. Shellfish: The European Union has told the UK shellfish industry that thousands of tonnes of oyster, mussel, clam, cockle and scallop exports are banned from the bloc indefinitely. British fishers, who had been told by government to expect the ban to last until spring, are warning this will be a fatal blow to their businesses. (See also item 25)
72. Ireland: Goods shipments from Britain to Ireland halved in the first month of post-Brexit trade. Despite the exceptionally low inflow of goods from Britain, hauliers were required to provide 760,000 import declarations of various types — more than 43 certified documents per truck — to gain entry to Ireland.
71. Driving: France is allowing UK residents using UK driving licences to continue to do so until the end of this year, but afterwards when the UK licence expires, as photocard ones do after 10 years or when the driver reaches 70 and every three years after, it cannot be renewed to a French address and cannot be swapped for a French licence. The only legal options will be to stop driving or take a French driving test.
70. Steel: Some steel products exported to the EU could face crippling post-Brexit taxes within months, the sector has warned. UK Steel said it was “likely” that for some products, export quotas – the amount allowed under the terms of the trade deal permitted to be exported tariff free – would run out in the first quarter of 2021, after which exports would face a 25 percent tariff.
69. Defence: The Ulster Unionist Party has said that, under the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Ministry of Defence must now give 15 days’ notice and fill out customs declaration forms before it moves military equipment from GB to NI.
68. Delivery times: British factories reported the steepest increase in supplier delivery times in a survey published by IHS Markit last week for the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and the USA. IHS Markitt say this is almost exclusively linked to both Brexit disruption and a severe lack of international shipping availability.
67. Japan: Nikkei reports UK car production at its lowest in 20 years “thanks to Brexit”, and coronavirus has added to the declining trend due to uncertainty over EU withdrawal. It is unclear if, after the proposed switch to electric vehicles, Britain will remain attractive as a production base. Toyota and BMW are reportedly reconsidering their optimal strategy and there is no guarantee the next models will continue to be made in the UK.
66. Banks: EU banking authorities have granted open-ended equivalence to US securities clearing houses allowed them to serve investors in the EU. It contrasts with the time-limited agreement granted to UK clearers and raises fears that UK banks will lose out, putting at risk London’s role as a dominant financial centre.
65. Steel exports: South Yorkshire and Derbyshire bosses brand the Brexit deal a ‘total disaster’ set to cost jobs and close companies. Some businesses have already lost customers after the UK left the EU, bringing new inspections, delays and swathes of declarations, tariffs, fees and VAT payments.
64. Pigs: More than 100,000 surplus British pigs have been backed up on farms around the country by Brexit border problems. According to the Financial Times, UK farmers blame increased bureaucracy for a drop in exports as an influx of cheap European meat hits prices.
63. Fishing (Immingham): Delays due to new Brexit rules mean that Icelandic exporters are moving seafood to Europe through Rotterdam instead of Immingham, in North East Lincolnshire. Until December, Icelandic fish has been regularly shipped to Immingham, loaded onto trucks and driven to France and beyond. This is now going straight to the EU market in Europe via Rotterdam.
62. Fishing: Lough Neagh eel fishermen will have to find new markets for a fifth of their catch due to Brexit and the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It means finding new buyers for 50 tonnes of eels, worth £500,000, just months before the start of this year’s season.
61. VAT: An engineering company is now being charged VAT at 22 percent on imported goods manufactured by its Italian sister company, which are then sold to another EU country, because it is a UK entity, adding 22 percent to their costs. Managing director David Lee said in a competitive market this is “an absolute killer.”
60. Yachtsmen and women: Almost 900,000 UK boaters are due to be hit by restrictions on how long they can stay in Europe after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, a new survey by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has found.
59. Credit cards: Mastercard will increase fees more than fivefold when a British shopper uses a debit or credit card to buy from an EU-based company, sparking alarm among companies that rely on online payments and concern among MPs over higher consumer prices.
58. Fishing: Boris Johnson has unveiled a £23m fund to compensate the fishing industry for losses caused by Brexit red tape as Scottish seafood hauliers descended on Downing Street to protest.
57. Online retailers: UK retailers could abandon goods that EU customers want to return, with some even thinking of burning them because it is cheaper than bringing them home. They say the new EU trade deal has put costly duties on returns at a time when firms are already struggling.
56. Exporters: British-based exporters are being advised by the Department of Trade to register new entities inside the EU single market, from where they can distribute their goods far more freely while avoiding the extra charges, paperwork and taxes resulting from Brexit.
55. Wine: UK drinkers face paying up to £1.50 extra a bottle on many European wines while choosing from a reduced range, merchants have warned, as the burden of post-Brexit paperwork takes effect.
54. Dover: Residents feel “betrayed” and “trapped” by the “lies” of the government over Brexit after being told of a huge new lorry park capable of holding up to 1,200 trucks is to be built in a rural idyll which they say will destroy the quality of their lives and wreck the environment.
53. Business travellers: UK business people who intend to carry out paid work in the EU will now need to comply with a host of complex national rules including an ‘economic needs test’ in some cases. The new arrangements have been described as “fiendishly complicated” by Catherine Barnard, professor of EU and labour law at the University of Cambridge.
52. Hauliers: EU hauliers and transport companies are turning their backs on UK business because they are being asked to provide tens of thousands of pounds in guarantees to cover VAT or potential tariffs on arrival in Britain.
51. Artists: British performers will be unable to work in EU countries without a permit. Actors, musicians and comedians fear the new trade will severely curtail the ability of performers to tour in Europe, and will hamper the recovery of the arts after the devastating impact of the pandemic.
50. Horse racing: Relative to arrangements prior to 31 December 2020, the process of moving horses between the UK and the EU is considerably more administratively complex and time consuming according to the British Horse Racing Authority.
49. VAT: New rules mean goods shipped to EU countries are now liable for VAT when they enter the single market. Tax experts VAT IT estimate the levies could add £34bn ($47bn) to the cost of UK trade with the EU.
48. British expats: Britons living in the EU face financial headaches as European banks hike international payment fees and British banks close their accounts.
47. Galileo: Britain has lost access to the encrypted public regulated service of the Galileo global navigation satellite system and will no longer be able to play any part in the future development of it.
46. Ferries: Stena Line has redeployed a ferry, the Stena Embla, away from its intended Birkenhead to Belfast route to meet extra demand for direct shipments from Rosslare to mainland Europe, as traders change supply chains to avoid additional paperwork in Britain.
45. Aviation: UK airlines can no longer offer services between EU member states (eg London-Frankfurt-Warsaw) or domestic services within them (eg Paris-Marseille) and have lost the right to operate onward passenger services from EU member states to destinations in non-member states (eg London-Amsterdam-Bangkok).
44. The Falklands: The Islands are excluded from the UK-EU trade deal. Products coming from the islands to the EU may now face tariffs. It’s a major concern for the economy of the islands, which exports 90 percent of its fish to Europe.
43. Price rises 1: Ford has raised the UK list prices of some of its models, blaming post-Brexit rules of origin tariffs according to Autocar magazine. The Fiesta ST Edition went up by £1,695 between Dec and Jan, with Puma ST getting £1,920 more expensive.
42. Spanish tax increases: UK-based owners of Spanish properties now have a 24 percent tax rate on income. This compares with a 19 percent tax rate previously, before the transition period ended. It is due to Britain becoming a third country. Spanish tax authorities will also no longer allow any expenses to be deducted, which means gross income is taxable.
41. Mobile phone roaming: The UK’s trade deal with the EU does not rule out additional costs for UK customers using their mobile phones in EU countries. The biggest UK operators have said they do not plan to reintroduce roaming charges, but the BBC says it may not be that simple in the coming years.
40. Lorry parks: The government has built a 2,000 truck capacity lorry park on compulsorily purchased land just off Junction 10A of the M2o in Kent, against the wishes of local residents in the village of Sevington.
39. Share trading: The three biggest venues in London that handle European shares saw almost all of this business (about $5bn daily) shift into the EU on the first trading day after Brexit. Chief executive of Aquis Exchange Plc told Bloomberg that 99.6 percent of its European stock trading moved to Paris, described as a “spectacular own goal” for Britain post-Brexit.
38. Food 3: A raft of red tape plus new checks at the border could add £3bn in costs for food importers, according to the UK’s Food and Drink Federation. That’s about an 8 percent increase – some of which could work its way down to prices paid at checkouts.
37. Tech start ups: For the very first time, the European Union will become a direct shareholder in startups. This will be possible via the creation of one of the biggest investment funds in Europe. Brexit Britain will not be eligible.
36. Amazon: Amazon will no longer transfer UK sellers’ goods to the EU in a move set to have major implications for merchants both sides of the border. Amazon has informed its UK sellers that “pan-European FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) inventory transfers will stop between the UK and EU” on January 1 2021.
35. Architects: As a result of Brexit, architects from the UK will have to demonstrate compliance on a state-by-state basis before calling themselves and operating as architects. See also Professional Qualifications below.
34. Business travellers: now face fines of up to €20,000 if they fail to obtain special permits for visits to conferences or exhibitions in the EU after Brexit, as there is no Brexit deal for the service industry.
33. Chemicals industry: now required to operate a separate registration system for the near 5,000 substances made by UK companies, details of which are currently held in the EU REACH database, at an ‘immediate cost’ of about £1bn.
32. Consumer safety: UK loses access to EU RAPEX rapid alert system (also known as Safety Gate)a notification system used by Trading Standards to share information about unsafe products found on the marketplace meaning more dangerous goods and toys could now enter the UK internal market.
30. Customs declarations: An additional 250 million customs declarations will now be required annually, needing an estimated 50,000 form fillers at a cost of about £7bn.
29. Erasmus: The British government has decided not to participate in the student exchange scheme know as Erasmus, for financial reasons. It will create its own cheaper alternative.
28. EU family members of British citizens no longer have the automatic right to join them to live in the UK and now have to comply with entry criteria including income requirements.
27. Exporting meat products: Exporters of food products of animal origin to the EU are now required to pay for an export health certificate for each consignment costing around £200. This also applies to ‘exports’ to Northern Ireland.
26. Exports 1: At least 50 major UK retailers, including Marks and Spencer and Tesco, are in the process of going through their products lines, to establish how many of them will now be subject to tariffs from the EU. River Island and H&M have both confirmed to ITV News they expect to pay penalty tariffs on some clothing sent between their UK and EU businesses.
25. Fishing 1: The shellfish industry now faces a bureaucratic mountain, with a wave of form-filling, certification and tariffs to deal with. Traders who sell live crabs and lobsters into the EU now expect delays caused by bottlenecks and new rules.
24. Fishing 2: The Yorkshire Post has learned Whitby fishing crews “will be worse off in 2021 than before they left the EU”. DEFRA Secretary George Eustice, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson were accused of “betraying” fisherman worse then before because they “knew exactly what they were doing when they devastated coastal communities”.
23. Food 1: The EU-UK food chain will be “slower, more complex and more expensive for months if not years” according to Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation.
22. Food 2: There is no equivalence agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures to reduce or eliminate checks on agricultural goods, like the EU offered to New Zealand and Japan.
21. Football: UK football clubs can no longer sign under-18s and are restricted to only three overseas signings under the age of 21, and only six foreign players per season.
20. Freedom of movement ends: British people have lost the automatic right to live and work across 26 nations of the EU (excluding Ireland).
19. Freight costs: The cost of moving freight from France to the UK surged to more than four times the usual level, after Brexit and a virulent new strain of the coronavirus complicated supply chains.
18. Manufacturing: After 1 January 2022, manufacturers will need to meet two different standards and will have to label products UKCA for the home market, and CE for those exported to the EU, adding costs to certification, manufacturing and stocking.
17. Meat exports: Government guidance on Brexit, updated on 28 December, states that UK producers of “chilled meat preparations”, are “prohibited” from exporting their goods to Europe as of 1 January. This includes chilled raw sausages, chilled mince, ungraded eggs, and some unpasteurised milk.
16. Medical insurance: UK holidaymakers travelling in the EU now need medical insurance cover. Failure to take out the necessary insurance could result in hospital bills of £2,000 for food poisoning or £14,000 for a heart attack.
15. Mutual recognition: There is no mutual recognition of conformity assessments any more. British authorities are unable to certify goods made in the UK meet EU standards adding costs to domestic manufacturers and suppliers.
14. Netflix: Because the UK is no longer part of the digital single market, cross-border portability of online content ceased to apply from 1 January. UK users travelling to the EU will be unable to access the UK streaming library.
13. Northern Ireland (Irish Sea) customs border: Collectively, traders now need to file 11 million new customs declarations for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
12. Packaging 1: All wood packaging materials including pallets must now be heat-treated and marked according to the ISPM15 international standard. Any business that does not comply could face shipments being rejected and, in some cases, fines.
11. Passport queues: Britons are no longer allowed to use fast lanes at European airports and Eurostar terminals.
10. Pets: To visit the EU, dogs now need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, with a health certificate issued by a vet 10 days before the visit. They must go though a designated TPE (travellers point of entry).
9. Professional qualifications: There is no mutual recognition of professional qualifications any more, which means professionals with UK qualifications no longer have the automatic right to practice or work across the EU27.
8. Road hauliers: UK operators are now only able to conduct one cabotage trip in the EU, while EU trucks have the possibility of doing two cabotage trips in the UK after a loaded inbound movement, according to the Road Haulage Association.
7. Rules of origin: To avoid tariffs, British exporters to the EU need to comply with complex rules of origin to provide evidence of sufficient local content to qualify for tariff exemption.
6. Safety and Security declaration: Around 250 million safety and security declarations now need to be made by UK hauliers, adding extra costs to 50 percent of our exports.
5. Second home owners: UK citizens with second homes in the EU are now only allowed to spend 90 days there, in any 180 day period.
4. Seed potatoes: The EU has banned the import of seed potatoes, in a move which will be a “disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claims.
3. Sky streaming services: We are no longer entitled to stream Sky TV outside the UK using Sky Go, Sky Kids, Sky Sports, Sky Sports Mobile TV and Sky Sports Box Office apps. Some Sky apps allow you to download your favourite shows and movies over WiFi before you leave home to watch offline while you’re abroad. This also applies to other streaming services (see Netflix above).
2. Trade 1: Over 150 UK and EU firms have dramatically changed plans due to Brexit, including many who now refuse to supply goods to the UK. The list was compiled by Edwin Hayward, author of Slaying Brexit Unicorns.
1. VAT: EU exporters to the UK are expected to collect the tax at source, and pay to register for the scheme. Most won’t, unless we form the bulk of their market, so “we do not ship to UK” will become more common. This could provide a small boost for UK operators, if they can fill the gap, but it limits consumer choice. (Also see Trade 1 above).
18. Cheaper fish: The House of Lords European Affairs Committee says a deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein signed in July, will mean cheaper fish in shops and supermarkets. Tariffs on the import into the UK of shrimps and prawns are removed, delivering savings of between £1m and £2.7m annually and Norway has agreed to cut certain tariffs for imports of UK fish feed from 10.5% to zero, thereby achieving annual savings of some £4.1m.
17. Pint glasses: Ministers are expected to announce plans to reintroduce the crown stamp on pint glasses in pubs in the coming weeks. New proposals will repeal “onerous” rules and allow hospitality venues to voluntarily place the crown on pint glasses, according to The Daily Express. Update: It appears however that the UK could have had crowns on pint glasses all along – see Benefits Myth No 11.
16. Animal Welfare: Live animal exports for slaughter are to be banned and journey times in England and Wales shortened with stricter rules on temperature and headroom in lorries, a joint statement from Defra and the Welsh government has confirmed. It follows a 12-week consultation, attracting more than 11,000 responses – of which over 7,400 came from the RSPCA
15. Wine: UK shoppers will save 20 pence per bottle on Australian wine under the terms of Britain’s new free trade deal with Canberra, according to the Government. The deal will see tariffs on Australian wine imports ‘slashed’ by up to 20p per bottle. It is hoped the move will see more varieties of wine imported, giving shoppers greater choice.
14. EU popular support: Polling shows that support for EU membership is above 80 percent in most member states following Brexit. The Kantar survey asked how people would vote in an in-out referendum and found that Luxembourg (94 percent), Portugal (92 percent), Ireland (91 percent), and the Netherlands (91 percent) had the highest support for EU membership out of the 27 countries in the bloc.
13. EU Recovery fund: The EU have agreed an €800bn recovery fund involving joint borrowing and shared debt, something many believe no British prime minister would have been able to agree without strong domestic political headwinds.
12. Ketchup: The US food giant Kraft Heinz is investing £140m in its Wigan plant to return production of tomato ketchup, salad cream and mayonnaise from its Dutch plant. Although Brexit was not cited as a reason for the move, Kraft called it a ‘strong vote of confidence’ in the UK.
11. Gibraltar: The rock can no longer be accused of being a tax haven, because of an agreement struck between Spain and the United Kingdom which came into force this week. The treaty aims to eliminate tax fraud and the detrimental effects of a tax system that allowed people to pay corporate tax only on the profits they made in Gibraltar.
10. Financial services: Almost 1,500 EU-based financial services firms applied for permission to operate in the UK, with around 1,000 of these planning to establish their first UK office, according to a Freedom of Information request by Bovill.
9. Bees: Some beekeepers argue that by banning the import of live bees, this will reduce the risk of bringing pests and diseases into the country by accident.
8. Fishing: The UK has decided to ban bottom trawling – a fishing technique where nets are dragged along the sea bottom – in the marine protected area of the Dogger Bank in the North Sea. DEFRA Secretary George Eustice said, “Now that we have left the [EU] Common Fisheries Policy, we are able to deliver on our commitment to achieve a healthy, thriving and sustainable marine environment”.
7. Air Traffic Control: Revised visibility & distance from cloud. As of 20 May 2021, the UK will revert to the rules on flight visibility and distance from cloud in class D airspace that existed up to 26 March 2020. This will be welcomed by many aviators.
6. Vehicle theft: Life will be harder for international bike thieves trying to move stolen machines through ports, according to leading vehicle crime expert, Dr Ken German. Gangs who had previously exploited the ease of access to mainland Europe through ports like Dover to move stolen machines quickly into new markets will now find it harder to do so post-Brexit.
5. Tax havens: Now the UK no longer has a veto, the European parliament is pushing for British overseas territories and crown dependencies, including the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, to be added to an EU tax havens blacklist after the conclusion of the Brexit deal.
4. Share trading: The UK will bring trading in Swiss shares back to London in the coming weeks, marking the first significant split from EU policy on financial services since the end of the Brexit transition period.
3. Advanced warning on goods: From July this year (2021), the UK will start receiving advance data on all goods coming from the EU into Great Britain, something which has not previously been possible under EU rules.
2. Fishing: Britain’s fishermen will increase their allowable catch from British waters over the next five years, although the precise amount is disputed and some in the industry claim the new trade deal represents a betrayal.
1. Gibraltar: To avoid a hard border, Gibraltar may join the EU’s Schengen zone and follow other EU rules, while remaining a British Overseas Territory. The agreement to look at this option was announced by Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya, just hours before the UK exited the EU.