The shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has written to the UK government to raise concerns over pressures on the GB to NI supply chain. In a letter to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the Secretary of State Brandon Lewis, Louise Haigh urged measures be taken to deal with disruption to trade that has been witnessed in recent days.
Some supermarket shelves were noticeably emptier, and some brands unavailable as lorries were detained for hours over paperwork due to Northern Ireland remaining in the single market.
Shadow Secretary of State for NI Louise Haigh:
Ms Haigh has said the Northern Ireland Protocol has to be made to work in order to prevent further disruption. Speaking to UTV, she said: “Because of the shambolic preparations that the government made for the implementation of the protocol, the last minute advice that they issued to government and frankly the complete denialism around the fact that there are changes to the trading relationship between Great Britain and Northern Ireland now, that’s not helping businesses in Northern Ireland and it’s not helping businesses in Great Britain understand what the changes that they need to make to trade with Northern Ireland are now. “We’ve seen disruption already with stockpiling before Christmas, and in the run up to Brexit, with this being a very quiet week ordinarily in freight terms but over the coming weeks we’re going to see the ports get a lot busier again and more widespread disruption, if the government doesn’t step up to the plate and help iron out some of these problems now I really fear that there are going to be increased shortages and more chaos and disruption if the government doesn’t get it’s head out of the sand and sort this out now.”
The Road Haulage Association claims the supply chain from is only one storm away from disaster. It has also written to the UK Government asking for steps to be taken within days to address problems at ports, which it says is making some business unsustainable.
John Martin from the Road Haulage Association:
A UK Government Spokesperson said on Sunday that the flow of goods between GB and NI has been "smooth overall and arrivals of freight have continued to increase substantially over this week".
"There are no significant queues at NI ports and supermarkets are reporting healthy supplies into their Northern Ireland stores," they said.
"We recognise the need to provide as much support to the haulage sector as possible as industry adapts to new processes. That's why hauliers can benefit from the Trader Support Service, which provides free advice and support to businesses of all sizes moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol. "We have been engaging intensively with the Irish authorities and hauliers on the issues that have been encountered for goods transiting through Dublin port."