Fresh Produce Consortium Criticizes UK Border Strategy: Urges Government Action

Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), has strongly criticized the UK government’s post-Brexit border strategy, labeling it as inefficient and costly.

Jenney lambasted the government’s approach, stating, “The Government has single-handedly created the world’s most inefficient and expensive border.” He emphasized the detrimental consequences for businesses and consumers, calling attention to the significant financial burden imposed by the government’s measures.

Among the key points raised by Jenney:

Obscene Charges: The FPC highlights exorbitant government costs, such as “common user charges” amounting to as much as £14,500 per 100 consignments and fees of around £1450 per vehicle for mixed loads. These costs, totaling millions annually, will disproportionately impact small businesses.

Delays and Disruption: Jenney criticized the limited availability of official inspection staff at Control Points beyond 7pm, noting that the majority of goods in the sector arrive after this time. He highlighted the government’s prioritization of convenience over effectiveness and cost-efficiency.

Last-Minute Chaos: The government’s lack of clarity and frequent changes have led to confusion and undermined industry confidence. Recent announcements, including a 500% increase in common user charges, have exacerbated uncertainty.

Lack of Consultation: The FPC accuses the government of disregarding alternative, efficient solutions proposed by the industry, potentially crippling small businesses and compromising food security.

Food Security: Jenney stressed the government’s responsibility to ensure affordable produce for the nation, yet its strategies add £200 million in avoidable costs to the sector and burden consumers.

Taking Supply for Granted: The government’s disregard for the horticultural sector and its international partners undermines food and flower supply security.

No Export Incentive: With a significant percentage of fresh produce and flowers being imported, a cost-effective border strategy is crucial to incentivize exports and support UK growers.

Jenney lamented the government’s procrastination and incompetence in implementing effective solutions, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. The FPC proposed solutions, such as providing inspectors at key points, tailored to the perishable goods industry, but these were rejected.

In conclusion, the Fresh Produce Consortium calls on the government to ensure the availability of official inspections at suitable hours and implement a border strategy that safeguards food security at a reasonable cost for both industry and consumers.


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