Lochside Garage

Local shoppers already losing out to Brexit

THE FACT a Brexit deal was reached at the 11th hour has not mitigated all the problems that had been predicted, with both shoppers and businesses in Fermanagh already experiencing serious issues getting deliveries to the North.
Even before Brexit finally happened last week on January 1, local shoppers were warned of impending delivery issues from online retailers, while businesses were worried about their supply chains. Now, many of those online retailers have either stopped delivering to the North altogether, or have increased delivery charges or waiting times.
Fermanagh shoppers trying to order from John Lewis, for example, have been told, “Deliveries and collections are temporarily unavailable in Northern Ireland while we make adjustments in line with new government legislation.”
Local people have also reported experiencing delivery issues from others such as Amazon, Dunelm, Ebay, Debenhams, Ikea and various others.
Business’ fears are also being realised, with uncertainty still reigning when it comes to delivery of supplies and concern persisting this will see an increase in costs for local consumers. While the UK government has implemented a customs grace period for the next three months for goods suppliers from Britain, it is unclear what will happen after April 1.
This has prompted Economy Minister Diane Dodds to call for urgent action to be taken by the Westminster government to engage with businesses to reinstate deliveries, address the regulatory barriers that have caused the problems, and ensure retailers and marketplaces don’t pull out of the North altogether.
“We are now seeing the impact of these changes and even at this early stage there is significant cause for concern from both businesses and consumers,” said Minister Dodds, who has written to cabinet office secretary Michael Gove on the issue.
“I am particularly worried about more vulnerable consumers, in terms both of health and income. Delivery of goods is an essential measure at the moment, and lack of delivery places Northern Ireland consumers in a much worse position compared to GB consumers.”
The current problems have arisen as a result of the Irish Protocol, the agreement that has kept the North following EU customs rules after the rest of the UK left the single market last week. This protocol was agreed to prevent the even greater economic chaos, and of course a hard border in Ireland, that would have been inevitable if the North had also stopped following EU market rules.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA