Less Common Metals Ltd, Britain's only manufacturer of advanced rare earth metals used in electric cars, wind turbines and defence technologies is to prioritise expansion in the US and EU and putting the brakes on UK growth after Brexit created obstacles to EU exports. Director Albert Slot said, “We are basically trying to expand into the European theatre as in the US. The Brexit executed by the British didn’t really help in LCM’s industry, meaning that we have to have a foothold in Europe.”
The group leader of the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London (UCL), has told the Sunday National in Scotland that he was happy the UK had rejoined the Horizon programme but the delay had held back dementia research. Professor Bart De Strooper said, “A lot of damage has been done to trust in UK science and a lot of uncertainty and instability has been created over the last three years.” He added, “We have also excluded ourselves from the whole post-doctoral Marie Curie Fellowship Programme and made it very difficult for Europeans to come and work in the UK. This has all harmed the international reputation of UK science.”
Research by the Best for Britain campaign group shows a 40% fall in the number of European bands and singers appearing at four major British music festivals, Glastonbury, Boardmasters, Latitude and Reading & Leeds since the UK left the bloc. CEO of the Independent Society of Musicians (ISM) Deborah Annetts said: “Collaboration is at the heart of music making, with European and British artists enriching each other’s music scenes and inspiring emerging artists. Yet since Brexit increasing numbers of European artists are deciding that it is not worth the hassle to try and perform on UK stages.”
There is growing tension between Britain’s logistics businesses and port operators over government plans to charge a flat fee of up to £43 for each consignment of animal and plant products imported into the UK via Wales and the Channel, according to the FT. Transport groups are “strongly opposed” to the “exceptionally high” fee, warning that it would further drive up inflation, while port operators are demanding the government extend the charge to help recoup their investment in multi-million pound border facilities.
Issues surrounding the Windsor Framework have prompted warnings of fewer food options in Northern Ireland's supermarkets. The British Retail Consortium's (BRC) director of food, Andrew Opie, has told a House of Lords Committee that operational issues with the Windsor Framework must be resolved, quickly, “otherwise we would see an impact in terms of the choice consumers have in NI". Mr. Opie added that the framework had been agreed "without necessarily understanding the practical implications of what it meant for our supply chains".
The country is failing to phase out harmful pesticides at the same rate as the EU, despite promises by ministers not to water down EU environmental laws. Pesticide Action Network (PAN), an environmental lobby group, says 30 chemicals considered by the UN to be highly hazardous pesticides have been banned by the EU since Brexitbut are still permitted in the UK, a further 6 have been approved by the UK but not the EU.
London is said to be 'fighting for its future' as a fashion capital with Brexit partly to blame, according to the FT. Designers complain of an increase in logistics and shipping costs, and challenges in selling to continental European stores, with the addition of a 12% tariff on most fashion goods exports to the EU plus VAT. Procurement of raw materials from the EU has also become more expensive, with some fabrics and yarns requiring the payment of up to 8% and 4% duty respectively.
Lisa Johnson, owner of LJ Natural, a homemade organic skincare company in Cheshire, has had to stop selling her products to the EU because to do so, she needs to appoint a 'responsible person' inside the EU who would be legally responsible if anything goes wrong. Mrs Johnson said it would not make financial sense, adding: “It’s the principle really, that now I can’t even look to find customers outside of the UK, and I lost 15% of my customers even before the cost of living crisis began.”
Research by the thinktank UK in a Changing Europe has revealed that the Leeds-based UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) invested just £2.4bn in 2022, a third as much as the European Investment Bank (EIB) spent six years ago. Together with other similar new institutions in Scotland and Wales, in total they invested just 17% as much in infrastructure projects last year as the EIB did before it began winding down its links with the UK.
Organisers of this year's Tour of Britain cycle race have blamed Brexit and funding challenges for the lack of riders. Only 96 started the race in Altrincham last week, and race director Mick Bennett told Cycling Weekly. Mr Bennet said that three weeks ago, “it took some teams that rode the world champs [in Glasgow] five hours to get their vehicles, technical teams through customs at Dover” adding that some teams had decided it wasn't worth coming to this week's race, “So they didn’t, but that’s purely and simply down to Brexit.” The race finished on Sunday with a win by Wout van Aert from Belgium.
A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce of 733 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) showed more than 80% were unaware of new reporting requirements under an EU green tax that takes effect next month, or obligations relating to the bloc’s VAT regime that kick in from January 2025. The FT suggests these companies, including many exporters, are completely unprepared for an impending “avalanche” of new EU regulations and taxes.
A Welsh farmer has told BBC Wales that even after the government has made 15,000 extra visas available for seasonal workers she is still 'struggling massively' to recruit seasonal workers for this year's harvests. Tessa Elliot, whose family grows potatoes near Cresselly, Pembrokeshire says, “If we can't get pickers, potatoes aren't going to be on the table, simple as."
The two young sons of a Nigerian student living under a UK international student visa in Derry, Northern Ireland, who attend school in the area will need to apply for a visa from the Irish Government if they want to go on a day trip to Donegal with classmates. This is said to be the reality of an “invisible hard border” which limits travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic for many people. Adamma Antonia is studying at the Magee campus of Ulster University after arriving with her husband, Kenneth Odumukwu, and sons, Daniel and David aged 11 and 5, earlier this year.
Brexit has cut earnings for most British musicians touring Europe, according to a survey carried out by the industry body UK Music. The survey found that eight out of 10 UK musicians who tour on the continent say they have lost earnings thanks to Brexit. Onerous regulations include so-called "cabotage" rules which restrict UK lorries to just three stops while touring, as well as work permits and visas for some countries. Customs paper work and "carnets" are also required for instruments and equipment – a formality last seen decades ago before the foundation of the bloc.
Sir Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has said the PM's decision to spend £650m on nuclear fusion is an attempt to make up for the 'irreparable damage of Brexit'. He told a press conference: “We have not been a part of [Europe’s fusion programme] for two years and nine months, and that whole time UK industry has not been eligible to win new contracts. Not only have they not won new contracts, but it has been such a long period of time, they’ve stopped bidding for work now and they’ve disengaged.”
British citizens resident in an EU country are said to have encountered 'difficulties' when transiting Schengen states post-Brexit while en route to their host member state if they lacked a valid document to prove that they are legally entitled to residence there. The EU Commission has now circulated a document to national authorities to “remind Member States of the applicable rules with regard to UK nationals that are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
A Briton living in France has discovered that he cannot ride his 1200cc BMW motorcyle after exchanging a UK driving licence for a French one. France no longer exchanges the full ‘A’ category (large motorcycles) for foreign licences but only the lower A2 category covering less powerful bikes. 69-year-old Kevin White has learned he must hold the A2 licence for two years before being allowed to take a seven-hour course to obtain the full ‘A’ category. Mr White said: “I’m not buying a smaller bike to ride for two years before being able to ride the €18,000 bike I’ve already got.”
Research by the UK Metal Council, made up of 12 trade associations drawn from across the metals industry, has revealed that a quarter of businesses have been forced to adjust supply chains after problems sourcing essential raw materials following Brexit. Phil Rawnson, MD of MRT Castings in Andover said that Brexit had led to increased cost and complexity as well as longer lead times for orders. Shipments to Ireland now take 3-5 days compared to less than 24 hours before Britain exited the bloc.
It is being claimed that traders using online platforms like Amazon and Ebay are refusing to ship goods to Northern Ireland under the Windsor Framework. Strangford MP Jim Shannon (DUP) said he has had, “a number of constituents and consumers contacting me to highlight that many eBay or Amazon providers will not ship to Northern Ireland any longer – as they state they can’t afford the enhanced fees...”
A report by the Independent Commission on UK-EU Relations highlights the impact of Brexit on the UK's manufacturing sector, raising market access barriers regarding customs formalities, certification and paperwork. The effect has been to slow production and increased costs, significantly holding back the sector and harming its ability to be internationally competitive and productive. One manufacturer consulted has had to open 27 different bank accounts to deal with the different VAT requirements of each EU member state.
The ‘considerable’ upsides
Wine. Scrapping retained European Union laws will “put a rocket under” the UK’s domestic wine industry and potentially boost vineyards by £180 million, according to the environment secretary. Therese Coffey said the changes being introduced through the legislation would give vineyards the “freedom they need to thrive”. The changes include using more disease-resistant varieties of grape and eliminating the need for foil caps and mushroom stoppers on certain sparkling wines.
Speeding fines. UK drivers caught on speed cameras in the EU could escape fines after Brexit when the Cross-Border Enforcement (CBE) Directive, which allowed the UK and the EU to share driving license information (it worked both ways) was revoked. However, the DfT say the 1959 Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLA), which permits the exchange of information and evidence on criminal and administrative matters, will continue to apply to the UK, so you may not be off the hook.
Northern Ireland. A report commissioned by Stormont’s Department for the Economy has suggested that the impact of the NI protocol will see the output of the NI economy rise by 2.2% compared to no Brexit. This is due to the province’s manufacturers maintaining preferential access to both the EU and UK markets and also because the sea border means local producers will face less competition from Great Britain, raising prices for consumers.
Reshoring. Data from BNP Paribas BNP for the first half of 202 2 has revealed a surge in demand for industrial floorspace and increased activity from manufacturing occupiers as they seek to ‘reshore’ activity back to Britain following theimpacts of Brexit. Vanessa Hale, Head of Research and Insights at BNP Paribas Real Estate comments: “Reshoring is bringing ‘Made in Britain’ back to our products. There are a number of driving factors behind this including inflation, Brexit, the pandemic, the Ukraine war and the blockage of the Suez canal, which have massively impacted supply chains and overheads.
Duty free goods. Before Brexit, travellers coming to the UK from non-EU countries were limited to personal duty free allowances as set by the EU. This was 4 litres of still wine, 16 litres of beer and either 1 litre of spirits over 22 % vol. or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling wine. Now the UK government has increased these allowances for all countries to 18 litres of wine, 42 litres of beer and 4 litres of spirits or liqueurs over 22 percent in alcohol. Duty free allowances for tobacco products remain broadly in line with the old EU higher quantities.
Import VAT. Travellers purchasing goods (not alcohol or tobacco) from duty free zones within the EU (in ports and airports) no longer need to pay country of origin sales taxes and will face no import VAT when arriving in the UK as long as they keep within the £390 limits (£270 if arriving by private plane or boat). This potentially saves buyers up to £78 per trip.
Asylum claims. According to the BBC’s lewis Goodall, successful asylum decisions are at their highest rate for many years attributed partly to Brexit. The UK is no longer part of The Dublin Agreement meaning we can no longer refuse a refugee’s application on basis they’ve already crossed into an EU country. Dr Peter Walsh, Senior Researcher at the Migration Observatory at Oxford: “The government has recognised three quarters of asylum applications as valid over the last year. This is a significant shift compared to a few years ago, when the majority of asylum applications were initially refused (even if many of these were later overturned on appeal). We now see majorities of positive decisions across a range of groups, from young men to older women….”
Cheaper fish: The House of Lords European Affairs Committee says a deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein signed in July, will mean cheaper fish in shops and supermarkets. Tariffs on the import into the UK of shrimps and prawns are removed, delivering savings of between £1m and £2.7m annually and Norway has agreed to cut certain tariffs for imports of UK fish feed from 10.5% to zero, thereby achieving annual savings of some £4.1m.
Pint glasses. Ministers are expected to announce plans to reintroduce the crown stamp on pint glasses in pubs in the coming weeks. New proposals will repeal “onerous” rules and allow hospitality venues to voluntarily place the crown on pint glasses, according to The Daily Express
Animal welfare: Live animal exports for slaughter are to be banned and journey times in England and Wales shortened with stricter rules on temperature and headroom in lorries introduced, a joint statement from Defra and the Welsh government has confirmed. It follows a 12-week consultation, attracting more than 11,000 responses – of which over 7,400 came from the RSPCA.
Wine. UK shoppers will save 20 pence per bottle on Australian wine under the terms of Britain’s new free trade deal with Canberra, according to the Government. The deal will see tariffs on Australian wine imports ‘slashed’ by up to 20p per bottle. It is hoped the move will see more varieties of wine imported, giving shoppers greater choice.
EU popular support. Polling shows that support for EU membership is above 80 per cent in most member states following Brexit. The Kantar survey asked how people would vote in an in-out referendum and found that Luxembourg (94 per cent), Portugal (92 per cent), Ireland (91 per cent), and the Netherlands (91 per cent) had the highest support for EU membership out of the 27 countries in the bloc.
EU Recovery fund. The EU have agreed an €800bn recovery fund involving joint borrowing and shared debt, something many believe no British prime minister would have been able to agree without strong domestic political headwinds.
Ketchup. The US food giant Kraft Heinz is investing £140million in its Wigan plant to return production of tomato ketchup, salad cream and mayonnaise from its Dutch plant. Although Brexit was not cited as a reason for the move, Kraft called it a 'strong vote of confidence' in the UK.
Gibraltar. The rock is no longer a tax haven, because of an agreement struck between Spain and the United Kingdom which came into force this week. The treaty aims to eliminate tax fraud and the detrimental effects of a tax system that allowed people to pay corporate tax only on the profits they made in Gibraltar.
Financial services. Almost 1,500 EU-based financial services firms applied for permission to operate in the UK, with around 1,000 of these planning to establish their first UK office, according to a Freedom of Information request by Bovill.
Fishing. The UK has decided to ban bottom trawling — a fishing technique where nets are dragged along the sea bottom — in the marine protected area of the Dogger Bank in the North Sea. DEFRA Secretary George Eustice said, “Now that we have left the [EU] Common Fisheries Policy, we are able to deliver on our commitment to achieve a healthy, thriving and sustainable marine environment.”
Air Traffic Control.Revised Visibility & Distance from Cloud. As of 20 May 2021, the UK will revert to the rules on flight visibility and distance from cloud in class D airspace that existed up to 26 March 2020.
Vehicle theft: Life will be harder for international bike thieves trying to move stolen machines through ports, according to leading vehicle crime expert, Dr Ken German. Gangs who had previously exploited the ease of access to mainland Europe through ports like Dover to move stolen machines quickly into new markets will now find it harder to do so post-Brexit.