‘Music to my ears’ British firm express relief after UK pauses custom checks for EU goods

Portsmouth: Business owner expresses relief over checks pause

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A business owner has spoken of the relief British firms feel after the Government moved to pause checks on imports for the European Union at a number of port facilities built especially to manage post-Brexit trade. Physical spot checks on animal and plant goods were due to take place at 41 centres across the country at ports, railway stations and airports but the decision to impose the customs rules this year will save traders up to one billion pounds. 

Importer Simon Lane told Sky News: “It is music to my ears quite frankly.

“The fewer constraints and hoops that we have to jump through and hurdles that we have to jump over basically mean that we have less cost.

“If we have less cost then we can pass that on to our customer base.”

The Government’s move to delay the start of customs checks at the newly built centres has not gone without criticism from industry groups. 

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The British Ports Association (BPA) have blasted the delay as a “huge waste of money”.

BPA spokesman Rochard Ballatye told Sky News: “If they’d have decided this two, three years ago that we’re going to have no checks and controls or limited targeted processes at our borders then we wouldn’t have had to go to all the effort and expense of building such facility.”

The row comes as Conservative leadership hopefuls attempt to lay out competing plans for Britain’s Brexit future. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said it is “really important” the next Conservative Party leader backs the benefits of Brexit.

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Asked if the next leader should have supported leaving the European Union from the outset, the Brexit opportunities minister told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I think it’s very important.

“Brexit has been done legally but there is a great deal of work to do to get the benefits of Brexit to make the UK a less regulated free market that isn’t in lockstep with the European Union.

“Part of that is delivering on the Northern Ireland Protocol and I think the Bill before Parliament at the moment is a very good way of doing that.

“There needs to be somebody who will support that.

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“But in my current role, not all ministers have embraced with enthusiasm the advantages of Brexit within their own departments.

“That’s really important because that’s where the advantages lie.”

Meanwhile, outsider candidate Tom Tugendhat pledged to back the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill if elected leader.

The EU claims the legislation would breach international law but Mr Tugendhat said he would be prepared to argue for it, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “I have fought for my country in combat, I have fought for my country in Parliament, and I will keep fighting for my country.”

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