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BREXIT RED TAPE COSTS FOOD BUSINESSES £60M IN 12 MONTHS – VETERINARY AGREEMENT WITH EU REQUIRED URGENTLY

BREXIT RED TAPE COSTS FOOD BUSINESSES £60M IN 12 MONTHS – VETERINARY AGREEMENT WITH EU REQUIRED URGENTLY

In just one year (to November 2021) the new Export Health Certificates (EHCs) requirements imposed on exports to the EU is estimated to have cost at least £60m in paperwork, with more than 288 thousand EHC applications requiring the equivalent of 580,000 certifier hours - 285 certifier years.

BREXIT RED TAPE COSTS FOOD BUSINESSES £60M IN 12 MONTHS – VETERINARY AGREEMENT WITH EU REQUIRED URGENTLY

 

Food and feed trade associations, hauliers, farmers and veterinary and environmental health professional organisations are highlighting the continuing financial and human cost of post-Brexit red tape. In just one year (to November 2021) the new Export Health Certificates (EHCs) requirements imposed on exports to the EU is estimated to have cost at least £60m in paperwork, with more than 288 thousand EHC applications requiring the equivalent of 580,000 certifier hours - 285 certifier years.  With the number of EU vets registering to work in the UK dropping by more than two thirds it exacerbates already extreme demands on the UK veterinary cohort. This has severely depleted the availability of qualified staff to certify not only the paperwork now required for export to the EU, but to anywhere in the world.

To cover these additional costs Great Britain’s food industry would have needed to generate around £3bn of total additional sales (assuming a 2 per cent profit margin) in the first year of Brexit. However, as a result of these new costs many food businesses can no longer afford to export to the EU. This means that many companies have ceased to trade with their previous largest export market, which impacts on livelihoods and the GB economy.

Short shelf-life foods are particularly impacted by the new requirements. Time-sensitive Just In Time production and distribution means that any delays in the transportation compromises the ability to sell them. Consequently, GB export to the Continent of short shelf-life chilled prepared foods is now largely unviable.  

In addition to the £60m certification costs there are new requirements for Support Health Attestations for composite foods, Support Attestations at abattoirs, new IT and software licences, and additional staff (requiring training in new skills). This results in a reduction of efficiency from the extra administration burden as well as lost trade1, 2.

Businesses continue to work hard to navigate these barriers. The SPS Certification Working Group, a cross-industry, veterinary and environmental health group is chaired by Karin Goodburn MBE (Director of the Chilled Food Association): “These already disturbing figures are in fact an underestimate of the total cost to the industry as they exclude bulk orders of EHCs from the Animal and Plant Health Agency made in one request and the wider costs of Brexit SPS requirements.

“Without urgent action the situation is only set to deteriorate and there are no quick fixes. As an example it takes more than 5 years to train the vets required we need to certify the EHCs. However we are proposing solutions and call on Government to support us in ensuring the viability of our food businesses.”

 

The SPS working group is proposing:

- SPS/veterinary agreement with the EU to reduce administrative burden and therefore certification costs

- Digitisation of paper systems - and to be certain of their acceptance by receiving BCPs in Member States/Northern Ireland

- Certification workforce recruitment, planning, training and retention

- Certainty regarding implementation of EU-GB trade on introduction of veterinary checks by GB on 1 July and in a second wave on 1 November 2022 to ensure there is a level playing field between GB and the EU on both exports and imports.

- Clarity on cost implications/continued viability of imports from EU.  GB food security and availability of ingredients/finished products being threatened by lack of resources to check incoming food, coupled with EU exporters deciding not to attempt to supply GB owing to the additional admin burden and costs

 

Contacts for media enquiries:

 

 

Notes to Editors

  1. According to the Food and Drink Federation UK exports of food and drink were down £2.7bn (-15.9%) in the first three quarters of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is largely due to a drop in sales to the EU of £2.4bn (-23.7%) resulting from new barriers to trade with the EU and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19. https://www.fdf.org.uk/fdf/news-media/news/food-and-drink-federation-published-february-food-and-drink-trade-snapshot/
     
  2. ONS data indicate that in 2021 the UK exported £13.993bn of food & live animals (12% down on 2019), of which 64% or £8.978bn was to the EU (17% less than 2019) and £5.001bn to the rest of the world (RoW). Exports to RoW in2021 were marginally down on 2019 levels (-2%). https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/datasets/uktradegoodsandservicespublicationtables/current

 

The SPS Certification Working Group

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Working Group is made up of food and feed trade associations, hauliers, farmers and veterinary and environmental health professional organisations, working together to minimise trade friction in Export Health Certificate (EHC)/SPS products between GB and the EU/NI by identifying issues and proposing solutions to Government and its Agencies.

The total value to the UK economy of the members of the Working Group is well in excess of £100bn per annum.

 

Members of the SPS Certification Working Group include:

Agricultural Industries Confederation                                 www.agindustries.org.uk

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board                 https://ahdb.org.uk

Association of Independent Meat Suppliers                         www.aims2001.co.uk

British Frozen Food Federation                                           www.bfff.co.uk

British Meat Processors Association                                    www.britishmeatindustry.org

British Poultry Council                                                       https://britishpoultry.org.uk

British Veterinary Association                                             www.bva.co.uk

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health                        www.cieh.org

Chilled Food Association                                                     www.chilledfood.org

Cold Chain Federation                                                         www.coldchainfederation.org.uk

Council for Responsible Nutrition UK                                     www.crnuk.org

Dairy UK                                                                            www.dairyuk.org

Fresh Produce Consortium                                                   www.freshproduce.org.uk

Foodchain and Biomass Renewables Association                    www.fabrauk.co.uk

Health Food Manufacturers Association                                 www.hfma.co.uk

International Meat Trade Association                                    www.imta-uk.org

National Farmers Union of England and Wales                       www.nfuonline.com

Pet Food Manufacturers Association                                      www.pfma.org.uk

Proprietary Association of Great Britain                                www.pagb.co.uk

Provision Trade Federation                                                     www.provtrade.co.uk

Rice Association                                                                    www.riceassociation.org.uk

Road Haulage Association                                                      www.rha.uk.net

Salmon Scotland                                                                   www.salmonscotland.co.uk

Shellfish Association of Great Britain                                       www.shellfish.org.uk

Specialist Cheesemakers Association                                      www.specialistcheesemakers.co.uk

UK Flour Millers                                                                     www.ukflourmillers.org

 

 

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