The Davis Downside Dossier
Last updated 19 June 2021
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”.
On this page we list the ‘considerable upsides’ and also the downsides, as we embark on Brexit after the end of the transition period – with the best possible access that we’ve been able to negotiate with the EU.
At the moment there are plenty of downsides, though the upsides are more elusive. We recognise the upsides may not become apparent just yet, but as they do we will add them to balance things up.
We also maintain a list of ‘upsides’ that the government has claimed, which are in fact fake. We call this the Brexit ‘benefit’ myths. Each one is debunked with verifiable evidence.
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.
Note, as of 8 January, the latest up or downsides will appear at the top of the list instead of being in alphabetical order. This allows frequent visitors to more easily check the latest additions.
The ‘considerable’ upsides
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.
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% 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%. 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.
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.
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. 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 is 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)