Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove’s claim that London and Brussels will enjoy a “special relationship” post-Brexit appears to have been blown out of the water already following reports that a growing number of online retailers in the EU are refusing to deliver goods to the UK because of new taxes and increased paperwork.
According to a BBC report, Dutch Bike Bits said it will now deliver to every country in the world except the UK, while Belgian retailer Beer On Web has insisted it will also pull out of the UK market due to the new measures.
From January 1, companies exporting to the UK face higher VAT costs and an increase in red tape. Under the new regime, VAT is collected at the point of sale rather than the point of importation, meaning EU businesses exporting to the UK must register to pay UK VAT and account for it to the HMRC for all goods under (£135).
The UK Government claims the new taxes “ensure goods from the EU and non-EU countries are treated in the same way and that UK businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from VAT-free imports”.
In a statement, Dutch Bike Bits said: “For providing this service, (HMRC) intend to charge a fee to every company in the world in every country in the world which exports to the UK.
“Clearly this is ludicrous for one country, but imagine if every country in the world had the same idea. Not being able to send parcels to the UK does not work in any way in our favour and it is not what we wanted. If you’re angry about this, and you may well be so, please contact your elected representative in the UK.”
The move comes amid disruption for UK retailers, too, with Sainsbury’s reportedly forced to axe around 700 product lines in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer claimed new trading rules in place since Britain left the EU were delaying deliveries of food to its stores in France – where branches had empty shelves on Tuesday.
It is all a far cry from Gove’s claims made in a column for The Times. He insisted the deal would give UK businesses “certainty and the ability to plan for growth and investment. We can develop a new pattern of friendly co-operation with the EU, a special relationship if you will, between sovereign equals”.
Gove added: “The greatest prize, however, is the chance now to renew our country and help it to recover from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic in a spirit of shared endeavour and solidarity. We have a duty to spread opportunity more equally across the UK. Outside the EU, with a good trade deal in place, we can tackle the injustices and inequalities that have held Britain back.”
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