UK businesses and consumers have paid 42% more in customs duties on goods since Brexit came into force on January 1 2021, it has been claimed.
The jump to £2.2 billion in customs duties (paid in the year from January 1 to July 31 2021) is a new record and is up from £1.6 billion in the same period last year, according to research from national accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.
The increased costs are due to new tariffs which have arisen as a result of leaving the EU.
The main increase in customs costs comes from the “rule of origin” tariff, which applies to goods imported from the EU which were originally made, or contain components made, outside of the EU.
UHY Hacker Young says that the increased cost of customs duties places further burden on UK businesses that have already been hit hard by the pandemic and increased staffing costs caused by the change in Brexit immigration rules.
Importing goods from the EU has also become far more complicated and time-consuming for UK businesses due to the bureaucracy involved.
In some cases, hauliers have needed to supply documentation of up to 700 pages long at borders, causing significant delays.
Michelle Dale, senior manager at UHY Hacker Young, said: “UK businesses weren’t given enough time or help to prepare for the cost of Brexit or the masses of paperwork.”
“The result is that the cost of tariffs and extra paperwork is now causing serious difficulties for many businesses who are already struggling to stay profitable in the face of mounting pandemic-induced costs.”