CIPS: Brexit timed for peak Christmas disruption

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A survey of UK and EU supply chain managers by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) has found that almost half (48 per cent) of UK businesses have not had their Christmas preparations affected at all by Brexit.

However, more than a fifth (21 per cent) said that moving the deadline from March to October has made their Christmas preparations more difficult.

The survey also found that some 21 per cent of UK businesses were importing Christmas stock earlier to avoid border disruption. However nine per cent of businesses were struggling to find affordable warehouse space to store Christmas stock. A further nine per cent said that they may not be ready for Christmas at all this year as a result of Brexit.

Dr John Glen, CIPS economist and visiting fellow at the Cranfield School of Management, said: “The October Brexit deadline falls during a crucial period for many UK businesses, when they would normally be busy importing stock for the Christmas period.

“Mass border disruption during this time could have a catastrophic impact, and so businesses need to be provided with as much detail and support as possible to ensure they can survive the festive period and protect UK businesses, and UK consumers from an economic and miserable disaster this Christmas,” he added.

To this end, the survey also found that 22 per cent of UK companies with EU suppliers had completed all steps necessary to export to the EU in the case of a no-deal Brexit; in March 2019 that figure stood at 14 per cent.

The CIPS defines the steps necessary to import to the EU as: the capability to apply for an EORI number; capability to complete each data field in the declaration; agreeing responsibilities with a customs agent and logistics provider and identifying software for submitting documents if they do not use a customs agent.

Furthermore the survey found that 38 per cent of UK businesses with EU suppliers had introduced Brexit clauses to contracts which allow prices or other terms to be re-negotiated in the case of trade tariffs increasing.

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