Brexit – One year on, where are we now?

  • 29th December 2021

Forgive us for not bringing festive cheer in this blog but as we mark the year anniversary since the UK finally left the European Union for good, businesses are set to be hit by yet more changes in the New Year which may catch some by surprise.

Looking back

The idea of reflection at New Year is nothing new but looking back on whether Brexit has been a success or a failure for British Business is definitely still a divisive topic. Recent squabbles with France over fishing rights brought back memories for some of the border chaos at the start of the year but as Covid-19 and other issues dominated the headlines is no news good news on the Brexit front?

Many feel the true cost of Brexit is being kept quiet but The Guardian revealed in September British importers have faced £600m in additional costs in the first half of 2021 due to red tape as a direct result of Brexit. Comparisons of overall trade in the last quarter available (ONS data from gov.uk) show September 2021 exports to be at £79.5bn compared to £144.7bn for 2020 a fall of 45% whilst imports dropped from £140.5bn to £119.4bn a more considered decrease of 15%.

As with anything, there will be winners and losers but it does seem that businesses have been put off by rising costs and levels of bureaucracy in what used to be simple transactions.

Looking forward

But whatever your views on Brexit, and similar to the position we found ourselves in last year with Covid, there is ever-changing legislation to deal with in 2022.

Those dealing in excise goods have been dealing with checks that 95% of others haven’t had to for a full year now. They warn of an overcomplicated system in which suppliers rarely have all the correct paperwork required at the first time of asking and potential lengthy delays which for anyone with perishable goods would be severely damaging.

First up from 1 January there are changes amongst other things to customs declarations, commodity codes, and stricter border controls including possible physical checks on goods. The Government has taken to putting adverts in places like the local business telegraph to promote the changes and the need to prove the rules of origin to access zero tariffs.

A summary of all the changes can be found here: Less than a month until full customs controls are introduced

Furthermore, from 15 January new health certification rules apply which could have significant implications for the region's many seafood exporters. These exports benefitted from an extended transition to the new rules but new rules will see changes in the information required on EHC’s so it is important Seafood businesses are on top of changes.

Looking further ahead phase 3 of the border operating model comes into force from 1 July 2022 with further tweaks for those dealing with dairy products and veterinary cargo even further into 2022.

So it looks like the New Year will be another one for keeping up to date with Brexit-related changes alongside any new Covid measures the Government decides upon. Maybe 2023 will be smoother…


Written by: Neal Watford

All data and figures referred to in our news section are correct at the date of publishing and should not be relied upon as still current.