Hauliers furious at Michael Gove for ignoring warnings over red-tape; many fear worse is yet to come when Westminster introduces import checks in July.
Britain’s exports to the European Union fell by 68% last month, compared with January the previous year, reports the Observer.
The dramatic fall in volume was reported by the freight industry to Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, earlier this month and Road Haulage Association chairman, Richard Burnett, told Mr Gove that he and his officials had been repeatedly warned by the industry that post-Brexit problems needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
In particular, he said, he made it clear to the minister that there was an urgent need to increase the number of trained customs agents to help firms tackle the increased paperwork. The total number of officials is now around 10,000, a fifth of the number required to handle the increased bureaucracy now facing the industry.
Burnett also told the Observer that as a consequence of the massive fall in exports, around 65-75% of vehicles returning to the EU were doing so empty. He said: “I find it deeply frustrating and annoying that ministers have chosen not to listen to the industry and experts.” He went on to say, “Michael Gove is the master of extracting information from you and giving nothing back…
“He responds on WhatsApp and says he got the letter but no written response comes. Pretty much every time we have written over the last six months he has not responded in writing. He tends to get officials to start working on things. But the responses are a complete waste of time because they don’t listen to what the issues were that we raised in the first place.”