British supermarket chain Marks & Spencer has called the EU’s Brexit border controls “pointless bureaucracy” as the British government considers delaying checks on food imports due to fears of mounting pressure on supermarket supplies in the run-up to Christmas.
Archie Norman, the chair of M&S, has stated that the rules on exports, due to be mirrored on imports from Ireland and the continent, have added 24-hour delays and “serve no purpose at all” as food standards remain aligned to the EU. Norman called them ‘a pointless exercise’.
He also said that keeping supplies flowing for Christmas was going to be problematic because of the lorry driver shortage. “What we’ve discovered is that the EU rules for governing borders, and their customs union are totally out of date, and not suited for the purpose they are designed for – what we’ve got a fandango of bureaucracy. Our product, our fresh sandwiches and ready meals, going to Ireland or France are delayed by about a day – that is not good if you are a sandwich. We are getting about 80% of our product through, less than that in France because the French, predictably, are draconian,” he told fpcfreshtalkdaily.co.uk.
The government is expected to announce whether it will delay the checks on goods coming in, but business leaders say it is not the answer.
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