Councils have regulatory responsibilities in relation to a broad range of products arriving in the country at ports of entry.
There was a diversity of views among local government about Britain’s membership of the EU. To reflect this, the LGA remained neutral during and following the referendum of 23 June 2016.
This response follows the Government’s position in assuming the UK will exit the EU without continued membership of the single market or the customs union . The LGA also acknowledges that other scenarios are possible, subject to the negotiations, and is working with partners to understand the risks and opportunities to local government of all eventualities.
The role of councils in the UK's customs regime
Councils have regulatory responsibilities in relation to a broad range of products arriving in the country at ports of entry. We note that these broader rules and regulations have been excluded from the scope of the Customs Bill (para 3.8). However, since the future approach to these wider controls is likely to be closely entwined with the customs approach that is developed to support the UK’s international trade after it leaves EU - as customs and controls are linked currently - we nevertheless wish to use this opportunity to highlight the key issues that could impact councils.
Depending on the arrangements put in place after Brexit, a clear impact on councils would be in their capacity as port health authorities and relates to requirements to check certain goods coming into the country. Broadly, for goods requiring active clearance and notification (e.g., animal or plant health products), products originating from within the EU are not routinely subject to import checks, in contrast to goods from third countries. Were this position to change after the UK leaves the EU, it could have a significant impact on the resources required to fulfil these checks.
Download the LGA's full response
HMG White Paper on legislating for the UK’s future customs, VAT and excise regimes, LGA Response, November 2017