A no-deal Brexit could push up the price of wine after the government rowed back on promises to suspend paperwork, the industry has warned.
Additional red tape will have to be introduced after the UK leaves the European Union, which is expected to cost the country’s wine businesses £70m.
Following a meeting with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association and Whitehall officials, officials “agreed the sensible solution was to suspend paperwork on wine imports for nine months, should Britain crash out of the EU without a deal,” the body said.
However the government is now planning to row back on that agreement, which the WSTA warns will force up prices by around 10p per bottle “and a reduced cost for consumers”.
Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive, said: “The government’s failure to honour commitments to suspend the VI1 forms is a real blow for the UK wine industry. The additional form filling and laboratory tests required for a no deal scenario will add a massive burden on exporters and importers alike. Wine inspectors will find themselves drowning in paperwork and consignments are going to be held up by unnecessary additional red tape.
“The burden of import certificates for wine will not simply fall on EU businesses – their pain will be shared by UK importers and ultimately UK consumers. There is however a simple solution, suspend the introduction of pointless import certificates and use the time to develop modern import rules that are fit for purpose. “
Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark and the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Wines and Spirits, said: “This u-turn is yet another example of government failing to listen to industry experts and ultimately failing to back British business. The worst case assumptions outlined in the Yellowhammer contingency plan are likely to become a reality if we end up with a disastrous no-deal Brexit.”
The Cabinet Office has been contacted for comment.
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