UK ministers are poised to announce an additional postponement of post-Brexit border controls for animal and plant products coming from the EU. The reason behind this delay is the concern that increased bureaucracy on imported goods might exacerbate inflation.

The decision to push back the implementation of the new import regime, initially scheduled for October, is also aimed at granting more time to companies and port operators to prepare for the new arrangements, even though many resources required are in short supply with no sign of this changing.

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This development comes ahead of a meeting of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, grappling with persistent high inflation. Delays in introducing post-Brexit border controls for goods entering the UK from the EU have been recurrent, whereas British exports to the EU are already subject to thorough inspections leaving UK exporters frustrated desiring a level playing field.

In April, ministers declared that a new “border target operating model” would gradually roll out from October 31, with a complete regime in place by October 2024. However, government insiders have informed the press this week that while the final details of the border plan would be published shortly, its practical implementation would be postponed.

The driving force behind the delay is the need to combat inflation and manage the additional costs at the border which remains under severe pressure from lack of resources. The exact timeline for the new regime has not yet been confirmed but is expected to be pushed into 2024.

The government’s intention to enforce border controls has faced several delays, and the food industry warned that proposed inspection fees could raise food prices. The introduction of the controls has been postponed several times since its original target date of July 2021. This new delay appears that the final part of Brexit may just be too much to implement as support starts to wane in light of false promises regarding the trade benefits of Brexit.

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