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Post-Brexit border checks to begin despite warnings of higher food prices

30 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Picture by David Dixon (CC BY-SA 2.0)

New post-Brexit border checks have come into effect amid concerns they will lead to disruption and higher food prices.

Food suppliers have warned that the checks, known as the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), will “increase food prices and reduce consumer choice” and impose “impractical” requirements on businesses.

Under the new scheme, animal and plant products from the EU deemed “medium-risk” or higher will face physical, documentary and identity checks at the Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel.

Importers will also need to pay up to £145 to bring such products into the country, with the fee intended to cover the cost of operating the border control posts introduced after Brexit.

Earlier this month, the Cold Chain Federation urged the Government to once again delay introducing the checks, with chief executive Phil Pluck saying the BTOM was “a broken model”.

He said: “Without listening to the experts, the Government will seriously damage business confidence in the UK and add costs to consumers’ weekly shop.”

The Government has said the checks will only increase food prices by 0.2% over the next three years, which farming minister Sir Mark Spencer told MPs on Monday was “a small price to pay for making sure that we are safe and protected” and negligible compared to the £12 billion cost of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

But Labour MP Stella Creasy told the Commons that the impact could be significantly higher, and described the measures as a “Brexit border tax” that could add £8 a month to the average food shop.


Ministers have insisted the checks are necessary to protect the UK from diseases such as African Swine Fever, which is widespread in some parts of Europe.

Cabinet Office minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “It is essential that we introduce these global, risk-based checks to improve the UK’s biosecurity. We cannot continue with temporary measures which leave the UK open to threats from diseases and could do considerable damage to our livelihoods, our economy and our farming industry.

“We have listened to all parts of industry every step of the way and will continue to support them to implement these changes as smoothly as possible.”

On Tuesday, the Government also announced two pilots to test whether checks could be carried out away from the border, and if new technologies could be used to reduce the number of checks needed.

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21 days ago

Sir Moggy of Thickasminceshire said food would be cheaper. Such a win this brexit lark, winning!

21 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

More evidence that the so called political leaders have no clue how to organise matters post Brexit. Driven by anti EU rhetoric rather than adopting a rational approach to managing cross border transactions. Bunker mentality reveals their innate xenophobia has trumped any commercial savvy. And they are supposed to be business friendly !

21 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

It wasn’t going to work. We are a third country now, we are no longer part of the club that had excellent rules and embedded chacks and safety. We now have to work to their rules. Someone growing lettuces in Holland trying to sell to UK will have to deal with a lot more cost and paper work, or sell with less hassle and cost to someone in the EU. It was always going to be so.

21 days ago

Was this what people voted for when they voted leave? Increase in food prices – leading to move poverty, yeah lets just makes ourselves even more poorer. So much for rational choice. Farage, Daniel Hannan et al were telling us that we can be like Norway (ie out of the EU, but within the single market). The leave campaign wouldn’t dare tell us what things would really be like before the referendum, otherwise people wouldn’t have voted for it. As Bill Clinton once said: Its the economy stupid.

Last edited 21 days ago by Rob
21 days ago

For people who say “this is not the Brexit I voted for “, well, it is. You were given a choice, in or out , and most voted out. No detailed plan was offered, and when businesses like Honda and the London stock exchange warned of the consequences, they were ignored. People voted for Boris and Farage who told them they wanted to hear, not the people who were warning them of the dangers to the economy. Now we all get to live with the end product.

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