Delays to SPS controls were announced alongside the publication of the Border Target Operating Model earlier this week.
BPC chief executive Richard Griffiths said that citing inflation as the cause of the delays deferred rather than confronted the consequences and the ‘commercial realities’ of Brexit.
“It side-steps round the fact that a large portion of cost of production pressures stem from the lack of clarity surrounding unreciprocated controls and regulatory timelines,” he added.
‘Striving for self-sufficiency’
“So much for wanting more British food on plates and striving for self-sufficiency: this fifth round of delays only continues to hinder investment and inhibit growth for domestic poultry producers, adding to the cost of production and amplifying pressure on the food inflation challenge.”
Griffith’s concerns over the delays echoed the frustrations aired by other members of the meat production industry. The International Meat Trade Association said the news was disappointing for many businesses who had spent time preparing – an outcome easily rectified by the Government telling the food industry what would happen from 31 October.
“Citing inflation is a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card,” Griffiths continued. “Levelling the playing field across industries, sectors and entire nations must take precedence if accessible and affordable food is the priority.
‘Biosecurity and food safety risk’
“For consumers, not having these controls in place poses both a biosecurity and a food safety risk whilst pushing up British poultry prices, in a cost-of-living crisis no less. To honour his commitment, our Prime Minister must realise levelling the playing field on controls is the first step towards mitigating the damage of repeated delays to manage the long-term viability of domestic food production.”
The BPC called for the Government to make relations with the EU as efficient as possible by establishing fair and reciprocated checks to equalise trade between importers and exporters, particularly in the absence of an SPS Agreement.
“We maintain that recognition of mutually beneficial standards and practices with the EU must be agreed upon to ensure fair and competitive trade, to keep food moving and to tackle the issues importers are concerned over – that BPC members encounter daily,” said a spokesman.
“The current system, where one side of the Channel can trade freely and the other is penalised for trying to, is simply not sustainable.”