Britain’s food supplies could be seriously damaged by Brexit due to supply chains being crippled by customs problems. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has warned that unless the right customs controls are negotiated by the Government during the Brexit talks then the sensitive UK food supply might be seriously damaged. The danger has been highlighted by the current vegetable rationing and the problems with lettuce supplies might just be the tip of the iceberg looming on the horizon.
EU Continental Road Haulage
Richard Burnett, the chief executive of RHA, stated that almost 30% of all the food that is consumed within the UK arrives in HGVs from the EU. The process at the moment is seamless, since it is just as easy to make a foreign delivery as it is to make a domestic delivery in terms of custom processes. However, that will not be the case any longer after Brexit and new processes will need to be made right. Otherwise the system to get food into the UK could come to a grinding halt.
The RHA is afraid that massively long queues of lorries may build up at the ports without there being enough staff to manage the backlog as the fresh food supplies begin rotting.
Burnett says that recent government statements are not reassuring. It is suggested by the White Paper that the customs service of HM Revenue & Customs is world-class. However, there is no system when it comes to EU continental road haulage. New challenges will be faced and the government will need to recognise this and give business assurance that the HMRC will have the necessary resources for getting the job done.
Burnett concluded by stating that the RHA welcomes the commitment of the government for cross-border trade to be as friction-less as it possibly can be. However, the process for air freight and containers won’t work for all the millions of trucks moving through our ports and Dover. Each year there are almost 4.5 million trips between Europe and the UK that are currently HMRC-free. Those trucks carry products, components and job along with 30% of our food supply.
The RHA website has the official views that the RHA has expressed posted on its website.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is called on the Government to do a couple of things with its Spring Budget submission, including the following:
Enhance UK Economy
Make sure that the UK economy is enhanced by the Brexit negotiations by minimising the burdens that are placed on businesses that globally move goods.
Increase Economic Growth in the UK
Stimulate economic growth in the UK and protect economic activity through reducing road fuel duty at the rate of three pence per litre, to support efforts for meeting the local air quality targets in the UK, and reinstating the used cooking oil duty differential as a bio-fuel for commercial vehicles.
Decrease Skill Shortage
Assist industry with solving the current skills shortage through ensuring that the training funding it provides and Apprenticeship Levy are flexible enough that they meet the needs of business and provides sufficient funding and a policy framework to support the provisioning of improved and new roadside facilities for drivers. For professional driver training and qualification, visit www.easyashgv.co.uk to see how you can enhance or start your professional driving career.