UK manufacturing including cars and fridges could face severely disrupted supply chains because the government failed to replace the EU’s safety standards system post-Brexit.
Manufacturers and their suppliers could be forced into striking or trading elsewhere because products will not come with safety guarantees, The Independent has revealed.
On top of supply chain issues and labour shortages British industry has had to face, it is now also set to suffer from UK’s failure to secure a safety standards agreement with the EU.
A “CE” stamp present on products across the UK to prove EU safety compliance is set to be replaced with a separate UK system from 1 January next year.
But because the UK’s compliance system is not recognised internationally, it is believed to harm UK’s trade and competitiveness – as will the failure to reach an agreement on safety standards with the EU, industry bodies fear.
The government admitted this was “not the desired outcome”.
It comes as the government risks a fallout with businesses if new British compliance rules disrupt UK’s supply chains, with some products, such as airbags, already trapped in backlogs.
Nonetheless, the government insisted it would not extend the deadline for the shift to UK safety rules, arguing the new checks are a matter of sovereignty.
Factories managers have reported Brexit red tape is also making supplies more expensive to buy.
A business department spokesperson told The Independent: “Businesses have a responsibility to ensure their products meet the requirements of regulations.
“We continue to work with industry on this issue and to ensure they understand their obligations.”
Food supply chains
Meanwhile, UK food supply chains are also facing severe pressure as Eastern European lorry drivers are prevented from coming to work in the UK post-Brexit, or driven out of Britain and back to Europe because of new rules.
Romanian lorry driver Viorel Alexandru Onu said he is thinking of following in the footsteps of his colleagues and moving back to Romania to work across Europe.
And an Italian woman working for a big British supermarket said for most of the week there are no deliveries and she had not seen anything like this in 12 years.
She told The London Economic: “The truth is, I don’t know what is going on, we are getting a delivery and then we are not getting any deliveries for three-four days. The staff is staying home. I am so upset.
“The deliveries shortage is because of Brexit.
“I have worked throughout the pandemic, I have never stopped when people started panic buying, we had some problems but because people bought everything, not because we didn’t have anything to sell like now.”
Onu told The London Economic there is now more risk, tiredness and pressure on lorry drivers delivering to UK supermarkets, because they are expected to cover for Brexit-related drivers shortages.
He said: “The problem is there are the same drivers left in the UK. To cover for the shortages, you have to bring drivers from abroad.
“Primarily, lorry drivers in the UK were Romanian, Polish and Lithuanian. A lot of my acquaintances who are lorry drivers have left the UK, as soon as the new Brexit rules came into place.
“I know of around 10 drivers from my group of friends who went back to Romania completely, and other drivers changed their jobs.”