Food price fears as Brexit import charges confirmed

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The government has revealed how much companies will have to pay to import foods due to Brexit.

Details about the charges have been postponed several times.

The Cold Chain Federation said the new charges would hit food prices.

The fee, known as the “common user charge”, will apply to animal products, plants and plant products entering the UK through the Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel in Folkestone.

It will be charged per type of good imported – the “commodity line” – and capped at £145 for mixed consignments. Individual products will face charges of up to £29.

The Cold Chain Federation’s chief executive Phil Pluck said the fee would have to be passed on to “either the EU importer, the smaller UK retailer, or the UK consumer”.

“Ultimately, this will increase business costs and food prices and potentially lower choices for the shopper,” he said.

The fee has been introduced to pay for border inspections and fund new facilities in Kent to protect biosecurity – preventing the import of plant and animal disease.

But the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) said the policy “feels like it is constructed on the back of an envelope at best”.

“Our sector typically has multiple commodity lines per consignment, meaning, in reality, businesses in our sector will be paying the £145 maximum charge,” said James Barnes, the HTA chairman.

Horticultural consignments can include plants, seeds, bulbs and cut flowers, he said.

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