Boris Johnson has vowed to “maximise the benefits of Brexit” in 2022 as consumers were warned to brace for fresh disruption due to new rules coming into play.
The Prime Minister, marking a year since the post-Brexit free trade deal with the European Union came into force, said the Government would “go further and faster” to take advantage of the “enormous potential that our new freedoms bring” in the new year.
But it comes as January 1 ushers in new barriers to trade with the bloc, with rules stating that importers must make a full customs declaration on goods entering the UK from the EU or other countries.
Traders will no longer be able to delay completing full import customs declarations for up to 175 days, a measure that was introduced to cope with the disruption of Brexit.
The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) said new border controls on animal and plant products from the EU could see major delays at ports in the new year.
The UK imports five times the amount of food it exports to the EU, so the potential for massive delays and food supply issues in January is high.
Mobile phone users could also be affected with two of the UK’s four biggest networks – EE and Vodafone – reintroducing roaming charges for customers travelling to Europe from the start of 2022. Three is set to reintroduce them in May 2022.
However, the Prime Minister, heralding the departure from the EU for allowing Britain to forge its own policies on immigration, coronavirus vaccines, bilateral trade deals and standards, said his administration wanted to “cut back on EU red tape” and restore “common sense to our rulebooks” in 2022.
Downing Street said officials are reviewing thousands of individual Brussels-made regulations which have automatically been kept on the statute book after Brexit – known as retained EU law – to ensure they benefit the UK, with laws that do not stand up to that criteria set to be reformed or repealed.
According to the Daily Telegraph, one law that could be abolished is a ban on pint-sized bottles of champagne, lifting a restriction against imperial measurements of sparkling wine that has been in place since Britain joined the common market in 1973.
Alongside the retained law review, officials said work is taking place across Whitehall to see where the UK can take the lead, including on artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, reforming data rights to be “more proportionate and less burdensome than the EU’s GDPR” regime, and reforming medical devices regulation to allow for the introduction of “cutting edge technology” in the health sector.
No 10 said the plans were designed to build on recommendations from the Taskforce for Regulatory Reform, Innovation and Growth (TIGRR), which has reported back to ministers after being led by former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.
The Prime Minister said: “A year ago today we entered our new relationship with the EU through the world’s biggest ever zero-tariff, zero-quota free trade deal – the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
“That was just the start – our mission since has been to maximise the benefits of Brexit so that we can thrive as a modern, dynamic and independent country.
“We’ve replaced free movement with a points-based immigration system. We’ve secured the fastest vaccine rollout anywhere in Europe last year by avoiding sluggish EU processes.
“And from Singapore to Switzerland, we’ve negotiated ambitious free trade deals to boost jobs and investment here at home.
“But that’s not all. From simplifying the EU’s mind-bogglingly complex beer and wine duties to proudly restoring the crown stamp on to the side of pint glasses, we’re cutting back on EU red tape and bureaucracy and restoring common sense to our rulebook.
“The job isn’t finished and we must keep up the momentum.
“In the year ahead my Government will go further and faster to deliver on the promise of Brexit and take advantage of the enormous potential that our new freedoms bring.”