Deli faces 50% price hike bringing in fine cheeses in from England due to NI Protocol, post Brexit

A Coleraine delicatessen has suffered a 50% hike in the cost of bringing cheese in from England due to the NI Protocol.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 6:30 am
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2021, 12:16 pm

Paul McCafferty, owner of the Belfy Deli said a major English supplier is struggling to ship to NI because of the bureaucracy and prohibitive costs post Brexit.

“I don’t often speak out but I think it’s important for my loyal customers!” he in a Facebook post.

“If I’m going to purchase £1000 worth of cheese from the UK mainland it will now cost £1450 and my supplier isn’t keen on the paperwork! A 50% increase!

Paul McCafferty of the Belfry Deli spoke out to highlight the challenges he is facing.

“The big supermarkets are allowed a three month grace period? What happened? Why was I not allowed this transition? Shame on those who allowed this to happen! Another kick in the teeth for small business!”

The Kent-based supplier had written to Mr McCafferty to explain the difficulties.

“The new legislation is presenting us with problems making deliveries to Northern Ireland, so we are currently exploring ways of getting around these new barriers,” the letter said.

They are no longer able to use their courier due to the increase in time required for paperwork and only pallet deliveries are likely to be offered.

“The Government’s public position is that these are largely ‘teething problems’ which will rapidly disappear... but it is clear from the latest waves of updated guidance and short notice briefing meetings that this is as much a learning curve for officials as it is for traders themselves – and that there are still many more questions than answers.”

All consignments now require an Export Health Certificate (EHC) and Veterinary sign off at around £90 and £80 each, which neither supplier nor customers can absorb.

“We are struggling to find a solution in supplying goods to Northern Ireland for the foreseeable future,” the supplier added.

A Cabinet Office spokesman responded that businesses have a sound basis to move their goods into NI.

“Our Movement Assistance Scheme covers the costs of certification for those businesses who do not benefit from grace period arrangements,” he said. “Our Trader Support Service (TSS) can also support businesses in working through other requirements for goods movements. For multiple consignments, known as groupage, we have worked with industry to develop practical mitigations so that those important movements can continue to flow.”

Meanwhile, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has said that the end of the Brexit transition period has produced deep-seated structural problems which will not be quick to resolve. The Government must intervene with extra cash before jobs are lost at freight companies, it warned.

Volumes of trade from GB to NI have fallen sharply and dozens of lorries have been left sitting in GB yards it added.  

A UK Government spokesperson responded: “Goods are flowing effectively between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and there is no disruption at Northern Ireland ports.”

They are aware of “specific issues” related to moving mixed food loads, for which new guidance is coming soon. They also urged businesses to call the TSS for guidance.

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