As fish residing in UK coastal waters celebrate their new found happiness and post-Brexit freedoms, hospitality businesses are finding Boris Johnson’s ‘Oven ready Brexit’ not quite as easy to follow as promised.
New business administration requirements have come into being to manage new import and export processes following the UK’s exit from the EU. They are complex and require businesses to adjust to meet them through additional work. Work takes time, and time is money, so many businesses are now struggling to add additional costs to operations.
The UK’s divorce from the EU will undoubtedly have smarted many of our European neighbours so their enforcement of regulations that hurt UK businesses cannot come as a surprise. The cordial conversations we see and hear are of course very different to those behind closed doors.
The stringent enforcement of new regulations can be illustrated by ham sandwiches (now banned) confiscated from UK lorry drivers at the Hook of Holland ferry terminal by customs officers. When a lorry driver asked if he could keep his bread, the request was dutifully denied by a customs officer who replied sarcastically: “No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to the Brexit, sir.” Dutch television and social media then dined out on the exchange as the news clip went viral.
This example is mildly amusing but perfectly illustrates the mood across the EU as a consequence of the UK’s divorce from Europe, bellicose.
Smaller UK hospitality businesses will be worst affected as the cost of adjustment will be proportionally higher. Last week a cheese company in Cheshire learnt that post Brexit they are now required to provide a health certificate on every retail order to consumers in the EU. The provision of each health certificate would cost the company £180 for cheese orders with an average sales value of £30.
Endless amounts of costly paperwork, new rules and regulations as well as permits and border check point delays are making the export of sea fish from the UK to the EU almost impossible in practical and economic terms.
Importers are similarly impacted, with European wine prices set to increase by about £1.50 a bottle.
The menus on UK restaurant tables will undoubtedly look very different when they are allowed to reopen, as will the bill.
Oven ready Brexit anyone?