Brexit news – live: EU firms refuse UK deliveries as Boris Johnson warned he ‘cannot duck’ inequality

Regretful Brexiteer says ‘be careful what you wish for’

A growing number of retailers in the EU have decided they won’t deliver to Britain because of the new costs involved in sending packages after Brexit. European retailers have said they are unwilling to register for VAT in the UK and account for it to HMRC.

It comes as problems emerged with the first lorries to cross from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. Some food product loads did not have the correct paperwork – meaning waits of 10 hours at the new border posts. Disruption means Sainsbury’s has reportedly lost around 700 product lines in NI – and the giant has been forced to stock goods from Spar.

Meanwhile, Nobel laureate has warned Boris Johnson’s government it “cannot duck” the UK’s inequality problems after the pandemic. Sir Angus Deaton’s review for the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the wealthiest had been “much better able to ride out the crisis”.


Sainsbury’s forced to stock rival products during disruption

The Brexit disruption has forced one of the UK’s largest supermarkets to stock a rival grocer’s products in their Northern Ireland shops.

A member of staff told the Belfast News Letter that about 700 product lines had been lost due to Brexit. A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said some products were “temporarily unavailable for our customers in Northern Ireland while border arrangements are confirmed”.

Adam Forrest5 January 2021 10:34


Urgent action needed on Brexit delivery disruption, says NI minister

Northern Ireland’s economy minister Dianne Dodds has called for urgent action over the disruption of delivery of goods to Northern Ireland.

Dodds has written to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove over the issues that have arisen since Brexit took effect – raising concerns that retailers based in Great Britain are cutting their services because of a lack of clear guidance.

The UK government recently announced a grace period for three months. Under it, online retailers in GB will not have to make customs declarations when sending parcels valued below £135 to NI customers until 1 April. However, it is currently unclear what will happen after 1 April.

Dodds called for a plan to ensure that retailers do not withdraw from the Northern Irish market when the grace period ends. “We are now seeing the impact of these changes and even at this early stage there is significant cause for concern from both businesses and consumers,” she said in her letter.

NI minister has written to Michael Gove


Adam Forrest5 January 2021 10:06


Fishing bosses pours scorn on post-Brexit funding package

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) is not impressed by Downing Street’s promise of £100m to help expand fleets over the five-and-a-half year transition period.

The industry expressed its outrage at the Brexit trade deal – which sees only 25 per cent of stocks in British waters returned to UK fishermen.

Asked in the funding package would help soften the blow of the trade deal, NFFO chief executive Barrie Deas said: “The short answer is no.”

“The fishing industry would much prefer to have our full quota entitlements which an independent coastal state has the right to expect,” Deas told the i newspaper. “Unlike agriculture, fishing has never been an industry highly dependent on subsidies.”

Lobsters are processed at the fishing port in Yorkshire


Adam Forrest5 January 2021 09:48


Gove: Go walking with a friend – but don’t sit down with them

If you’re still catching up with the rules for the latest lockdown, Michael Gove has shed some light on meeting up with others outdoors.

People can go walking with a friend but cannot sit down with them for more than a very short rest, the Cabinet Office minister said.

“One of the things that we do want to stop is the idea of people essentially congregating or socialising outside.” Asked if that meant “don’t sit down together, otherwise it no longer counts as exercise”, Gove agreed those were the new rules.

“Yes. I think, inevitably, it may be the case that for a second someone will want to pause and rest in the course of exercise,” he told the Today programme. “Do stay at home, of course exercise once a day, but also do everything possible to restrict social contact.”

Michael Gove


Adam Forrest5 January 2021 09:41


Sunak reveals £9,000 grants for firms hit by lockdown

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a grant worth up to £9,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses hit by the new lockdown.

The one-off payment is expected to benefit more than 600,000 business properties across the whole UK, at a total cost of £4bn, the Treasury said.

Sunak also announced a £594m discretionary fund to support other businesses hit by the Covid shutdown announced on Monday by Boris Johnson – expected to last until at least 22 February in England.

Adam Forrest5 January 2021 09:30


PM cannot ‘duck’ tackling inequality, says Nobel laureate

Boris Johnson’s government “cannot duck” tackling the UK’s inequality problems, a major new review has warned.

Nobel laureate Sir Angus Deaton lead the review for the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), warning the fabric of British society was at threat if they were not addressed after the Covid crisis.

The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on both ethnic minority groups and disadvantaged communities, the report said – adding that the wealthiest and most highly-educated have been “much better able to ride out the crisis”.

Sir Angus’ review said the government had a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the disadvantages faced by many that this pandemic has so devastatingly exposed … We now face a set of challenges which we cannot duck.”

Adam Forrest5 January 2021 09:18


Lorries delayed 10 hours in Northern Ireland

There were problems with the first lorries to cross the new Irish Sea border and arrive into at Belfast and Larne on Monday. Some food product loads did not have the correct paperwork – meaning long waits at the new border control posts.  

The process to allow good through took more than 10 hours in some cases, though border officials said only a “small number” of lorries were affected, according to the BBC.

Northern Ireland’s chief vet Robert Huey said compliance would have be toughened up from next week.  

“After day seven… if there’s non-compliance the consignment will have to return to the exporter to get those issues sorted. We will follow through on that, I have no option.”

Larne in Northern Ireland

(Getty Images)

Adam Forrest5 January 2021 09:13


EU firms refuse deliveries to UK

So how is Brexit working out so far? A growing number of specialist retailers in the EU have decided they won’t deliver to the UK because of the new costs involved in sending packages.

Bicycle firm Dutch Bike Bits, for instance, said: “We are forced by British policy to stop dealing with British customers.”

The Belgium-based company Beer On Web said it would no longer send to the UK “due to the new Brexit measures”. And Scandinavian Outdoor said: “No delivery to UK just now.”

It follows Brexit-enforced changes to VAT – which is now being collected at the point of sale rather than at the point of the goods are imported.

It means that overseas retailers who wish to send goods to the UK have to register for VAT here and account for it to HMRC if the product is less than £135.

Beer on Web won’t deliver to UK because of Brexit

(Beer on Web)

Adam Forrest5 January 2021 09:04


Margaret Ferrier charged by police

Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has been arrested and charged by police after she travelled hundreds of miles on a train from London to Scotland, despite testing positive for the virus.  

She was charged in connection with “alleged culpable and reckless conduct”, according to Police Scotland – so she faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Ferrier has been suspended by the SNP, but has so far dismissed calls to resign as MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Adam Forrest5 January 2021 08:49


Third lockdown will last until March

Boris Johnson has announced another national lockdown for England, warning the weeks ahead “will be the hardest yet”. Michael Gove said this morning the lockdown would last until March, despite the promise of a mid-February review.  

The PM ordered people to stay indoors – except for food, exercise, medical needs and work which can’t be done at home – and said schools should move to online learning until mid-February. Johnson offered no explanation why he said on Sunday that schools were “safe”, saying only: “I completely understand the inconvenience and distress this late change will cause.

The PM also set out a timetable to vaccinate 13 million people – all over-70s, health workers, care home residents and clinically vulnerable people – by mid-February. But waiting for initial immunity to kick in means the government may not be able to return to a tiered system until the beginning of March.

Gove told Sky News: “I think it’s right to say that, as we enter March, we should be able to lift some of these restrictions but not necessarily all.”

Adam Forrest5 January 2021 08:47


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