Preparing for Christmas, the supermarket has criticised the EU’s border controls put in place since Brexit. Speaking to LBC radio, Archie Norman, the chair of Marks & Spencer, stated the 24-hour delays on imports from Ireland and the rest of Europe “serve no purpose at all”.
“What we’ve discovered is that the EU rules for governing borders, and their customs union are totally out of date, and not suited for the purpose they are designed for – what we’ve got a fandango of bureaucracy,” he said.
“Our product, our fresh sandwiches and ready meals, going to Ireland or France are delayed by about a day – that is not good if you are a sandwich.
“We are getting about 80% of our product through, less than that in France because the French, predictably, are draconian.”
This follows an announcement from Marks & Spencer that the supermarket is reviewing the future of its stores in France due to the delays.
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However, the Government is considering delaying their introduction to help businesses in the short term deal with the changes.
High street retailers have told the Government the delays “would not be helpful as they would add more uncertainty”.
“Most of our members who do this stuff regularly have done an enormous amount of work on this and invested really considerable sums in training, in getting new relationships with customs agents and in personnel. That’s all going to be wasted to some degree if it doesn’t start on 1 October,” Ian Wright, the Food and Drink Federation chief executive, said.
“It also means there will be an asymmetric relationship for British business where we are doing all the work on exports and paying the costs while EU business don’t have any of these checks or costs.
“The government has been telling us firmly for the last six months there will be no changes, so its credibility is on the line here.”