The U.K post Brexit

Two months following the U.K’s departure from the European Union (EU), new regulations have been imposed on certain commodities travelling to the U.K from the EU and vice versa. The free-trade deal between both parties also continues under the new agreement which came into effect on January 1st this year. Despite having a trade deal in place, a number of sectors have encountered delays, some which may be COVID related and others from red tape regulations enforced post-Brexit.  


According to a survey conducted by The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, 60% of U.K and EU supply managers say that they have faced delays getting goods into the UK. From this group, 45% have faced delays for more than two days where 27% blame paperwork as the cause of delay.  Further, 23% have expressed concerns that these delays will cause significant out of stocks if they continue to happen. 


A number of foods have been impacted as a result of red tape regulations such as fish, cheese, and meat, which require more checks and health certificates to meet EU regulations. As a result of these disruptions, the produce cannot leave the U.K and ends up rotting at the border. The delays as a result of these disruptions have caused concerns from UK firms for fear of backlash from trading partners in the EU, which can be costly to businesses in the export sector. Despite these challenges, the U.K government encourages their exporters to set up subsidiaries in the bloc to help minimise the cost associated with such disruptions to the business.

Online shopping channels

According to BBC news, online shoppers from the U.K have found themselves paying extra charges to sellers from the EU, particularly VAT or sales tax. Prior to Brexit, sales tax was included in the purchase which meant that the price you saw was the price you paid. Previously, many smaller companies were too small to charge VAT . Since Brexit, U.K VAT now applies to all purchases from the EU. 

Northern Ireland

Post Brexit, most goods from the U.K travelling to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland require a customs declaration. A number of food items travelling to Northern Ireland in particular now require additional paperwork as the region is currently subject to several EU regulations. Consequently, several companies have struggled to adapt to meet these regulations. For example, Amazon ceased alcohol deliveries while John Lewis also suspended all deliveries going to customers in Northern Ireland. In addition, supermarkets have also faced disruptions to the delivery of fresh produce to the extent where there have been attempts to source the produce locally.


The European Union Settlement Scheme was a scheme introduced post-Brexit which allows EU citizens to remain in the UK after Brexit went live on January 21 this year. EU citizens living in the U.K have been required to apply to the scheme before 30 June 2021 in order to remain in the U.K legally. The scheme has been deemed controversial as it can cause vulnerable groups to lose their legal status when they don’t deserve to, such as the elderly, those with disabilities and victims of domestic violence. In a recent article from The Guardian, the High Court has rejected the bid to extend the settlement scheme under the grounds that there was insufficient data to prove that the policy outcome was likely to impose discriminatory consequences. Many have been disappointed from the results of the High Court’s decision particularly after Prime Minister Boris Johnson had made promises that all EU citizens would automatically be granted the right to remain in the UK.


According to the BBC news, the flow of medicines have been “bearing fruit at the moment”. There hasn’t been a significant number of problems or disasters in medical supplies to the UK. However, a few research organisations have experienced issues with temperature-sensitive deliveries, having to shoulder additional courier costs to guarantee timely deliveries of medicines, equipment or ingredients. There has also been issues with having access to medical cannabis from the Netherlands as a form of treatment for children with severe epilepsy. In response to this, the government is currently working towards finding a permanent solution to minimise any disruptions. 

Overall, the new U.K-EU free-trade agreement allows both parties to resume trade which benefits both economies. However the delays that businesses are facing can become highly problematic if the incoming consignments are key in offering protection from the pandemic, such as medical supplies. If these disruptions continue in the near future, it is key that the government considers intervening to support and help sustain the businesses affected as means to generate economic recovery at a very crucial time – amidst the pandemic.


Pasepa Katia