Home Brexit Checks-mate: ParcelHero welcomes further grace period for checks on goods entering NI

Checks-mate: ParcelHero welcomes further grace period for checks on goods entering NI

by David Jinks MILT
7th Sep 21 1:19 pm

The UK Government has once again extended the grace period on introducing new checks and red tape on many goods being sent to Northern Ireland (NI). After furiously launching legal proceedings the first time the UK did this in March, this time the European Union (EU) says it won’t oppose the move.

A raft of new checks and documentation requirements were due to come into force on 1 October, as part of the much-delayed full implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. With no new agreement in sight, the UK has shelved the new measures once again.

The home delivery expert ParcelHero welcomes the new, indefinitely extended grace period. It warned yesterday that, if the introduction of new customs documentation and checks on parcels and home deliveries was not paused, there would be a return to the chaos of January. That saw companies such as John Lewis stop home deliveries to their Northern Ireland customers entirely.

However, ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., warns: ‘This battle may have been won, but the sausage war is far from over. The UK Government has effectively reached a “standstill” arrangement with the EU, freezing the next stage of Protocol measures and pausing the current legal actions between the EU and UK.

‘UK retailers and manufacturers had been fearing new bans on chilled meats and vastly increased red tape for many goods sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The new rules would have been a nightmare for parcels and home deliveries. Private individuals and retailers alike would have been forced to complete comprehensive Customs documentation, potentially having to supply proof of origin of the items and even their individual components. New checks would have been inevitable to ensure the shippers have given the correct details.

‘The pause in introducing new checks is simply a stalemate, however, or more literally a checks-mate. The Government admits the new delays are in order to provide space for potential further discussions.

‘And the EU stated yesterday evening: “At present, the Commission is not moving to the next stage of the infringement procedure launched in March 2021, and is not opening any new infringements for now.” That “At present” and “for now” still sound ominous. We expect further comment this week. However, long term, a proper agreed solution is clearly needed that works for all sides and guarantees unfettered shipments between GB and NI, a principle that was enshrined in the original Brexit deal.’

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