Brexit Briefing: The end of the transition period
Fishermen in the UK are halting their exports to European Union countries over new border bureaucracy introduced by the government as part of Brexit.
Meanwhile, parcel courier DPD UK has said it was pausing its road delivery services into Europe, including Ireland, until at least Wednesday and Debenhams announced it was suspending online sales to Ireland due to “uncertainty” about the new rules, which mean some products are now subject to tariffs. Other major retailers were reported to be considering similar steps.
Ireland forced to ease Brexit bureaucracy after hauliers warn supermarket stocks could run low
The Republic of Ireland has been forced to temporarily ease customs checks on shipments from Great Britain after hauliers warned Brexit red tape could cause shortages of some goods and leave gaps on supermarket shelves.
Businesses have had problems shipping goods to both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, despite repeated claims by UK government ministers including Boris Johnson that there would be no border down the Irish Sea.
Read the latest by Ben Chapman here:
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 20:56
Immigration detention centre forced to close due to Covid outbreak
The UK’s largest immigration removal centre has been temporarily closed due to an outbreak of Covid-19, and detainees have been transferred to another detention facility as a result.
Campaigners have accused ministers of “playing Russian roulette with public health” by maintaining detention during the third wave of the pandemic.
Read the full report by The Independent’s Social Affairs Correspondent May Bulman:
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 20:38
Government monitoring the nation’s snack intake amid obesity concerns
Ministers are monitoring the nation’s snack intake amid fears that repeated coronavirus lockdowns are fuelling a surge in obesity.
Information on the UK’s snacking habits and nutritional intake has been added to a monitoring tool used by Public Health England to assess the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s health, with figures showing that sales of “sweet home cooking” goods rose by almost a quarter in the year to June.
Read the full story by The Independent’s Whitehall Editor Kate Devlin:
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 20:24
Michael Gove warns of increased disruption at borders
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has warned of increasing disruption at Channel ports over the coming weeks as a result of Brexit.
It comes amid reports that Brexit red tape is already causing problems, with parcel couriers DPD suspending road deliveries from the UK to the EU and Scottish seafood producers saying they have been hit by a “perfect storm” of administrative burdens.
Read the full report by The Independent’s political editor Andrew Woodcock:
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 19:50
Labour urges government to ‘get a grip’ on Brexit border issue
Labour has accused the Government of failing to properly prepare for the end of the transition period.
Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon called on ministers to “get a grip” on the situation in order to avoid the lorry queues witnessed before Christmas after France shut its border to UK entrants following the discovery of a new coronavirus variant.
“The Government promised it had a plan to make sure things ran smoothly for businesses and hauliers post-Brexit,’ Mr McMahon said.
“It’s clear the problems caused by its poor preparation and delaying tactics have not gone away. Ministers have to get a grip on this and make sure essential workers are actually able to do their jobs, or we risk seeing a repeat of the chaos on our roads at Christmas.”
A Government spokesman said: “Although many businesses have moved goods successfully since January 1, we are aware of some issues, and are providing guidance and support.
“Hauliers can use our ‘Check a HGV is ready’ service to make sure they have correct paperwork, and must obtain a Kent Access Permit if they plan to travel via Dover or Eurotunnel.”
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 19:19
Major new TV campaign to warn public to stay at home
A major advertising campaign will urge the public to stay at home as a record new high in daily death figures fuelled fears the current lockdown is not working.
The new adverts, fronted by England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, will emphasise the risk posed by the new strain of the disease and how stretched hospitals are becoming.
Read the fully story by The Independent’s Whitehall Editor Kate Devlin:
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 18:53
Scotland’s Brexit Secretary blasts UK government for Brexit ‘extra burdens’
Scotland’s Brexit Secretary accused the UK Government of having imposed “extra burdens” on businesses at a time of “unprecedented challenge”.
Constitution, Europe and External Affairs Secretary Mike Russell hit out at the Conservative administration in Westminster over their “bad Brexit deal”, claiming it would be “very damaging to the economy and for jobs”.
His attack came as a new paper by the Scottish Government warned that trading costs for those firms doing business with Europe would “increase substantially due to additional customs and borders paperwork” with this making them less competitive.
Scottish Government research has already raised fears the deal struck by Prime Minister Boris Johnson could see GDP north of the border fall by 6% by 2030 – a potential loss to the economy of some £9 billion compared to staying in the European Union.
This latest Scottish Government paper suggests that “new delays at the border including new customs formalities are expected to cost Scotland and rest of the UK businesses £7 billion annually”
It adds: “Just-in-time supply chains of perishable products such as seafood may be jeopardised.
“Premium Scottish products such as salmon, beef and lamb will require new export health certificates for exporting into the EU.”
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 18:30
Ministers under pressure to reveal more data on Covid-19 vaccination progress
Experts have called on ministers to reveal significantly more information about the progress of the coronavirus vaccination scheme, amid fears there could be “pockets” of the country rejecting inoculation.
The government is facing growing questions about the scale and the speed of the rollout, which marks the UK’s best hope for lifting the current lockdown.
Read the full report by The Independent’s whitehall editor Kate Devlin:
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 18:02
Kwasi Kwarteng replaces Alok Sharma as Business Secretary
Kwasi Kwarteng has replaced Alok Sharma as Business Secretary after Boris Johnson appointed Mr Sharma full-time president of the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November.
Read this breaking news story by The Independent’s political editor Andrew Woodcock:
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 17:35
Gove: ‘significant disruption’ at UK borders in coming weeks
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said he expected there to be “significant additional disruption” at UK borders as a result of Brexit customs changes in the coming weeks.
Speaking to broadcasters, he said: “So far disruption at the border hasn’t been too profound but it is the case that in the weeks ahead we expect that there will be significant additional disruption, particularly on the Dover-Calais route.
“It is our responsibility in Government to make sure that business is as ready as possible, and hauliers and traders have already done a lot but we have to redouble our efforts to communicate the precise paperwork that is required in order to make sure that trade can flow freely.
“So over the course of the next few days, Government will be stepping up that communications effort to make sure that business knows what is required.”
Joe Middleton8 January 2021 17:17