Small firms confused over upcoming import rules

23 Apr 2024

The government has been accused of confusing small firms before new import rules on plant and food products are introduced, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). 

The FSB says the government has bypassed formal channels and left small firms out of the conversation, leaving them unsure as to who they can trust.

Officials from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) say new checks – due to come in on April 30 – may not be turned on as expected.

However, small firms have not been formally told of the changes, and instead found out after a document was leaked to the press.

Martin McTague, National Chair of the FSB, said: 'It's left them unsure as to who they can trust. Many have invested considerable time and money making sure they're getting it right, but now they're left scratching their heads at the conflicting messages coming out of Whitehall – will they or won't they face these checks and have to start paying on April 30?

'Government has had years to get this right. Small firms deserve clarity, and they really do not have time to decode messy and unclear Whitehall messages that contradict each other. 

'The government really ought to put small firms, the most affected by these changes, at the heart of the conversation.'

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