Labour has written to the government to demand clarity on chaotic, costly UK border trade measures, raising the concerns of British businesses.
Labour recently warned in the House of Commons that proposed border measures from the UK Government, which were due to take effect in the coming months could risk further increasing already rocketing food inflation.
It has since been reported that ministers intend to delay the implementation of their ‘Border Target Operating Model’, creating yet more uncertainty for businesses, while millions has already been spent in preparatory work.
The government’s own consultation on the Border Target Operating Model set out that checks were due take effect from October 2023, with the introduction of documentary and risk-based identity and physical checks from 31 January 2024.
Yet it has recently been reported that these measures are now set to be delayed in their entirety, but no formal government statement has been made. Labour is raising concerns that this ongoing chaos, is deeply damaging for business certainty and is yet another example of this Conservative government failing to provide the stability needed to promote economic growth.
The delay will also mean that yet more taxpayers’ money has been wasted on preparing for new border measures. This is particularly concerning given implementation dates have been pushed back on several occasions already, with Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks and controls on agri-food products originally scheduled to commence from 1 April and 1 July 2021.
Labour has continually called for the government to take measures to tackle trade barriers with countries in Europe and globally, to minimise the need for border checks and help address inflationary pressures.
It comes as Labour warned this week that the economy is ‘stuck in a low growth trap under the Conservatives,’ as new analysis of economic forecasts revealed that UK growth will be the slowest in the G7 in 2024.
Earlier this year, Labour set out its economic mission in government, to have the highest sustained growth in the G7.
Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s Shadow International Trade Minister, said:
“The government’s handling of this important issue has been absolutely shambolic. They have delayed new border checks time and again, creating huge uncertainty for businesses, who are already struggling as a result of Conservative economic mismanagement.
“With the deadlines for new checks just months away, it is unacceptable that businesses have not received a clear update from the government on whether the new border arrangements are even going to be introduced. The Tories’ trade barriers are stunting economic growth.
“Labour will turn this around as part of our mission to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7.”