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Gloucestershire Business News

Record high for post-Brexit customs duties

Customs duties paid by businesses in the UK hit a record high as importers adjust to the post-Brexit trading conditions.

Already leading retailer Marks & Spencer is reconsidering its trading arrangement with Europe.

Analysis of HMRC data, as reported in The Guardian, shows an increase in duties paid from £1.6bn in the first half last year to £2.2bn this year in the same period.

The report even states that trade bodies are saying some companies are finding the rules so complicated they end up paying the customs duties just to make things easier.

Michelle Dale, senior manager at accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, is reported as saying UK businesses weren't given enough time to prepare for the cost of Brexit or the increase in paperwork.

Major companies like Marks and Spencer are now looking closely at trading arrangements with European partners.

An M&S spokesperson said: "In light of the new customs arrangements we are taking decisive steps to reconfigure our European operations and have already made changes to food export into Czech Republic.

"We operate a franchise business in France and are currently undertaking a review of the model with our two partners in the market."

Some analysts are already saying this could mean M&S closing stores in France and stop selling sandwiches and chilled food altogether.

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