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A survey of UK food and drink companies shared exclusively with Business Insider, found that just 3% said last month that they were “fully ready” for Brexit with a third saying they don’t expect to be ready in time for the UK leaving EU trading rules at the end of 2020.
The food and drink sector is set to be heavily affected by Britain’s exit from European trading rules, with companies bracing themselves for checks on goods and new rules for labelling, regardless of whether the UK and EU strike a new free trade deal.
In the absence of a free trade agreement, costly tariffs will be slapped on food and drink products, making it more expensive for British businesses to sell to the EU and creating the likelihood of price rices in UK supermarkets.
The survey carried out by The Food & Drink Federation found that just 3.5% of businesses believed they were “fully prepared” for January 1.
A third — 33.3% — said they would not be ready on time despite their efforts to prepare, with a number citing the coronavirus pandemic as the key reason. 19.3% said “we have done as much as we can, but cannot be fully prepared by 1 January 2021,” while 14% said “impacts of Covid-19 mean we do not have the capacity to fully prepare in time.”
10.5% of companies said they would prepare for changes “when there is certainty about a deal with the EU,” which might not come until several weeks before the end of the year, if at all. UK and EU negotiators are not expected to strike an agreement before the EU Council Summit on Thursday and talks are set to continue into the autumn.
Just over half of the companies — 52.6% — said they have “more to do” but “intend to be fully prepared.”
The survey carried out between 12 August to 9 September, is the latest sign that swathes of British businesses are not ready for a series of changes to how UK trade with the EU will work in around eleven weeks’ time.
Another survey carried out by the UK government over the summer found that less than a quarter of businesses overall felt “fully ready” for the end of the transition period, while 40% believed the transition period would be extended despite the legal deadline for doing so having already passed.
A statement this week by UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma indicated a greater sense of urgency in the government’s message to businesses, with the minister warning that they face disruption in January “unless you take action.”
Sharma said: “I know these are challenging times, however it is vital that your business prepares now for our new relationship with the EU, outside of the single market and customs union.
“There are 80 days until the end of the transition period and there will be no extension, so you need to act now.”
There is growing tension between Johnson’s government and industry figures amid suggestions that ministers are …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics