Brexit could very well damage food supplies in England as the food supply chains could become crippled due to issues at customs. In fact, the RHA, the Road Haulage Association, issued a warning that the right customs controls should be negotiated by the government, otherwise the food supply in the UK could be damaged. The public may already have a glimpse of what’s to come, as vegetables are currently being rationed at the moment.
HMRC and EU Road Haulage
A spokesperson for the RHA pointed to the fact that almost 30% of food consumed in the United Kingdom arrives in lorries via the European Union. Currently, the process seems simple with one example being that it’s very easy to deliver food from European countries. In fact, it’s as easy as shipping food domestically because of customs processes, but this could change after Brexit. The new processes will need to be implemented the right way.
The RHA believes that fresh food supplies could be left to rot if a backlog starts to occur due to long queues of lorries waiting at ports to enter the UK. The organisation feels that they are not reassured by statements the government have given. It has been suggested that HM Revenue & Customs have a great customs service, but there is no system when it comes to road haulage in the EU. This means there will be new challenges and the government should assure businesses that the job will get done by the HMRC.
Although the government’s commitment to making trading across the border as easy as possible is evident, the process for air freight and containers won’t work for trucks that drive products via Dover and the UK’s ports. He pointed out that each year there are around 4.5 million journeys between the UK and Europe. That means the trucks are carrying around 30% of food consumed in the UK. Currently the training provided to truck drivers ensure the professional drivers make the trip as quick and smooth as possible. The change in customs, however, could mean a very different outcome. Information on current training for professional drivers can be found on HGVTrainingPrices.co.uk.
The FTA Remarks on the Matter
The FTA wants the government to do a few things when it comes out with it’s next budget. One of those things is to reduce road fuel duty by at least three pence per litre. The FTA said this would stimulate economic growth in the UK and it would help meet local air quality targets throughout the country.
Another thing the FTA would like to see the government do is help the industry tackle the shortage of skills. They recommend by making the Apprenticeship Levy flexible to the point that businesses’ needs are met. They want to see what kind of training funding will be provided.
The FTA is hoping the government will provide a policy framework. Furthermore, it would like funding that will support new roadside facilities for lorry drivers. They also said they would like to see current roadside facilities improved for drivers.