UK manufacturers warn over post-Brexit red tape

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Almost a third of small UK firms have stopped exporting to the EU due to extra costs and confusing new paperwork post-Brexit.


Manufacturers in the UK have warned of customers cancelling orders and called for more government support to help deal with the extra paperwork they are required to complete post-Brexit.

The Independent reports that nearly 30 per cent of firms in the country have stopped shipping goods to the EU due to the additional costs and confusion caused by new customs forms, according to accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young.

Manufacturing trade groups have also complained of a lack of customs agents to help guide businesses through the process. 

Ben Fletcher, executive director of policy for Make UK, said: "Particular challenges are now very evident around just how hard it is to get anything out of and into the country."

Among the issues is that the IT system used to log documents for imports and exports is 30 years old and there is no helpline available to solve issues. Instead, firms are directed to an HMRC email address for any queries, which can take up to five days to see a response - and potentially an additional five days for a resolution.

Mr Fletcher said this is an unrealistic timeframe for firms that need to make quick decisions.

David Lindars, of the British Meat Processors’ Association, also raised concerns about the "antiquated" systems businesses have to use since leaving the single market.

"If there are any changes required [to paperwork] at the border they have to manually go through each of the pages and manually cross things out putting an old-fashioned 1950s-style ink stamp on every single crossing out," he said.

Any errors or missing information could result in a shipment being turned back at the EU border, which could be "catastrophic" to some businesses.