Local MP Richard Thomson has demanded UK ministers “take their heads out of the sand” and act to reduce the trading burden for businesses and prevent the availability of food being reduced further.
The call comes after a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) on the UK border post-Brexit transition period found that action is needed to bring in import controls, reduce the burden on traders, and resolve the position for Northern Ireland.
It recommends that the UK Government prioritise addressing risks relating to infrastructure and trader and haulier readiness, provide the support and guidance traders and hauliers need to adapt to new rules as they are introduced, and prioritise efforts to streamline border processes and reduce the administrative burden on traders.
The report warns that the UK Government must ensure that businesses understand what they need to do and when because if they do not, it could reduce the flow and availability of food and other products to the UK.
Traders and hauliers will have to comply with new requirements when the UK Government introduces full import controls. Full import controls were originally planned at the end of transition period on 1 January 2021 but this has been delayed three times, with most controls now being introduced between January and July 2022.
The NAO has found that there are elements where delivery is still at risk and where departments may have to deploy contingency plans.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“We’re almost a year on from the end of the transition period and the responsibility for the issues traders are facing at the borders lies squarely at the feet of Conservative ministers who promised the world and have delivered nothing.
“It is disgraceful that they have had all this time to address these issues, but local businesses are still dealing with unnecessary and costly bureaucracy at the border because of a Brexit we didn’t vote for. It is time for UK ministers to take their heads out of the sand and acknowledge it is their shoddy deal causing the issues. We need action now to solve them.
“The sheer complacency the UK Government has displayed over this speaks volumes and hammers home how incompetent the Conservatives have been throughout this whole Brexit process. The only way to protect Scottish industry and our economy is for control over these matters to be given to Scotland.”