Question Time: Businessman criticises grace period extension
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Business owner Tim appeared on Question Time and revealed the grace period extension – which reduces the number of checks at the Northern Irish border – does not help him or his company out. He explained that he has to pay new duties and change invoices which are causing complications for him. The BBC audience member added that he needs a solution “now” rather than kicking the can down the road.
Tim explained to host Fiona Bruce: “It’s costing us as businesses money now, it needs solving now.
“We as an organisation found out today that goods that we’d already shipped to Ireland a few weeks ago, we now have to pay duty on those goods.”
Ms Bruce explained Tim owned a bed and mattress company and asked: “Do you think the way of solving it now is for the Government to insist that, despite what’s been agreed, it will unilaterally extend this grace period till October?”
Tim replied: “I think the problem with extending the grace period is that it doesn’t really solve the problem.
“We need to solve the problem we need to get some certainty in there.
“We need to know what’s going to happen moving forward, just extending the grace period is only going to keep us from where we are in limbo.
“So we need to put our heads together and come up with a solution that works for everyone.
“And like I said, the point is it’s costing all of us money, it’s got costing us money in duty, it’s costing us money and having employee spending time at meetings learning how we’re going to have to send things to Ireland.
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“It’s costing us money, changing our invoices and changing everything.
“So, we need a solution that lasts, and we need that solution now.”
Goods entering Northern Ireland have been subject to EU customs rules as the region still remains in the Customs Union.
This has caused delays and disruption for hauliers importing goods from Great Britain into NI.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has been attempting to fix the issue by extending the grace period which means not all checks are implemented.
The UK announced it would unilaterally extend the grace period until October after reports they were denied an extension from the EU.
The bloc is now threatening legal action against the UK for what they say is a breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The EU was also condemned at the beginning of the year for enacting Article 16 to essentially put a hard border across Northern Ireland and Ireland.
The decision, which was quickly retracted, was due to vaccine export supply concerns as the EU Commission attempted to limit and monitor jabs leaving the continent.
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