Keep calm and prepare for Halloween…

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The 31st October is rapidly approaching, so I hope you’re ready. No, I’m not talking about filling the house with Harribo and chocolate and generally chucking them in the direction of small children… I’m talking about the B-word. Six letters… dominating headlines for the past three years, may or may not happen in some form or another… I don’t need to say it.

Current government department ‘preparation’ seems to be taking the same approach that most parents have for Halloween: chuck money at it, throw the rules out of the window and hope for the best. Keep calm and… oh, hang on, that slogan has already been used. I’m sure you’ve got a tea towel saying much the same thing shoved into the bottom of a kitchen draw.

In just the past few days we’ve seen the DfT (potentially) chuck £86.6 million at ferry operators “to transport vital medicines into the country from the moment we leave” – an activity that was previously happening seamlessly and at no cost to the taxpayer. The Belfast Telegraph reported that should a deal be struck between the UK and the EU between now and Halloween then it will cost taxpayers £11.5 million to rip up the paperwork. Brittany Ferries, one of the four operators involved, said it was “pleased that it has been selected to provide guaranteed freight capacity on three routes”.

If anyone involved in moving medicines in this way can tell me exactly what medicines will be moved as a result of these contracts, and if it guarantees enough capacity to meet the current level of “vital medicines’ that patients in the UK require on a daily basis, then send me an email [email protected]

As discussed in the October issue of Logistics Manager… supply chain professionals involved in the import goods from our largest trading partner face a bewildering set of rule changes.

HMRC has automatically registered 95,000 businesses for its “simplified” import procedures allowing “most” traders up to six months to pay import duties and submit customs declarations, if there is no-deal.

Previously businesses had to apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) status but only 25,000 had registered. By auto-enrolling, HMRC whacked another 70,000 VAT-registered businesses who import from the EU into the TSP scheme as “it is the best option for businesses who are new to customs processes and haven’t yet appointed a customs agent”.

I would read that as – ‘we were never going to hit the 95,000 target through voluntary enrolment, so we just gave everyone status to avoid any issues’. I would also read that as 70,000 businesses are either ignorant, oblivious or agnostic to any import issues that affect their supply chains. I don’t know what I’m more concerned about.

By Christopher Walton

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