‘Brexit bogging down businesses’

Britain’s trade with the European Union has been dented by Brexit, with businesses facing greater costs, paperwork and border delays since the U.K.’s full withdrawal, a watchdog panel of MPs said Wednesday.

A report by the cross-party Public Accounts Committee found that although it was difficult to disentangle the effects of the pandemic from those of Brexit, “it was clear that EU exit has had an impact”.

It concluded the “only detectable impact” of the U.K. withdrawal from the EU’s single market and customs union at the start of last year was increased burdens on businesses.

“New border arrangements have added costs to business,” the report said, noting the government has “much more work” to do to ease the woes suffered by firms.

This year trucks have faced queues of up to six miles on the approach to the English port of Dover with lines also reported in northern France.

In its report, the Public Accounts Committee warned they could worsen once passenger numbers return to normal as expected later this year.

“One of the great promises of Brexit was freeing British businesses,” said committee chair Meg Hillier MP.

“Yet the only detectable impact so far is increased costs, paperwork and border delays.”

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