TO listen to Boris Johnson and his caterwauling coterie of Brexit-lovers, the whole issue of the UK leaving the European Union is a fait accompli and no-one has suffered any damage.

The problem for the UK Government and businesses across Britain, but especially in Scotland, is that Brexit is nowhere near a done deal and new regulations will come into force on New Year’s Day that will seriously affect the economy.

You will recall that Brexiteers promised a bonfire of red tape. Instead, from January 1 there is going to be a volcanic increase of the stuff because from Saturday exports between Great Britain and the EU will be subject to full customs controls.


FROM Saturday, companies that import goods will no longer be able to take advantage of the temporary six-month grace period which allowed them to delay making customs declarations to HMRC and postpone paying any tariffs due.

READ MORE: New post-Brexit rules will hit food supply chains in new year, industry body warns

From that date they have to pay up immediately and customs declarations in the UK can no longer be postponed.

The EU tells its member states that product exports to the UK that are required to carry veterinary health certificates – live animals, meat, dairy products – must now pass a designated border control post in the UK. This also applies to “high risk” vegetable agricultural goods such as trees and perennials.

In addition there are the regulations on “Rules of Origin” which are a key element of the UK’s deal with the EU called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

If you’re importing or exporting anything you must be able to prove the goods meet the rules of origin in order to use preferential tariffs. This means you’ll need to prove where the goods have been grown, produced or manufactured.

It all means additional costs for companies trading with the EU and no doubt these costs will be passed on to the customer, while selves empty of EU goods are inevitable in the short term.

That is because many businesses are just not ready for the change. Earlier this month the Institute of Directors surveyed 250 leaders of businesses doing trade with the EU and a third of those surveyed said they were not prepared for the changes.

One saving grace is that planned Safety and Security Declarations at entry will not be required until July 1, 2022, when a host of other new rules will take effect.


REMEMBERING always that this country voted not to leave the EU, it looks as though Scotland will be disproportionately affected by the regulations changing on Ne-erday.

The National: EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY NOVEMBER 15..File photo dated 06/02/2020 of finance secretary Kate Forbes. Industry bodies are urging the finance secretary to introduce a business rates discount for all retail premises for the coming financial year as shops

Kate Forbes said Brexit would hit harder than the pandemic in the long term

As Finance Secretary Kate Forbes reported to the Scottish Parliament, the long-term impact of Brexit on the economy will be worse than that caused by Covid-19.

She said: “While all other parts of the UK have seen a negative impact as a result of Brexit, the scale of that is three times higher in Scotland than in London.”

READ MORE: ‘We were left in the dark over this Brexit shambles’

The new rules from January 1 will not help at all and smaller businesses trading with the EU will suffer worst.


A GOVERNMENT spokesperson told The Guardian: “Overall trader readiness for the introduction of import controls is strong. The Government is also on track to deliver new systems, infrastructure and resourcing needed for these controls.

“We have been running a targeted campaign across print, radio and online to businesses to the relevant information – and officials across government are leading a series of sector-based webinars to help traders and hauliers get ready.

“Recognising that the global pandemic has affected supply chains in the UK and across Europe, we announced earlier this year that we will be introducing import controls in phases throughout 2022 in order to give businesses time to prepare.”


ACCORDING to the UK Government, it has decided to “temporarily extend staged customs controls for goods that move from the island of Ireland into Great Britain while discussions between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol are ongoing”.

“This will avoid any disruption and ensure that businesses moving goods from the island of Ireland to Great Britain can continue to follow the same processes they do now.”

How long can that situation go on?