Michael Gove criticised over 68% fall in exports to EU since Brexit

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George Martin
·2 min read
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Freight trucks and HGVs board a DFDS ferry at the Port of Dover on the south coast of England on January 25, 2021. - EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday slammed Britain's refusal to grant the bloc's envoy full diplomatic status and warned it dented prospects for post-Brexit cooperation. (Photo by BEN STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Freight trucks and HGVs board a DFDS ferry at the Port of Dover. (Getty)

Michael Gove has been criticised over a study which claims that British exports to the EU have fallen by 68% since Brexit.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has written to the Cabinet Office minister to ask for help after its report discovered a significant drop in the volume of exports at the UK’s ports last month.

The RHA study also found that 65 to 75% of vehicles arriving from the EU were returning to the bloc empty due to a lack of goods.

According to the body’s chief executive Richard Burnett, British firms are finding the new export rules “deeply frustrating and annoying”.

Watch: What could scrapping EU labour rights mean for UK workers?

Burnett called on the government to increase the number of customs agents from 10,000 to 500,000 to help firms with extra post-Brexit paperwork.

He also criticised Gove for being unresponsive when contacted by the RHA and said if they do receive a reply it is often a “complete waste of time”.

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“Michael Gove is the master of extracting information from you and giving nothing back,” he said.

“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.”

DOVER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Freight queues at Dover port on January 22, 2021 in Dover, England. Since Brexit, new requirements for EU transport firms to provide tens of thousands of pounds worth of VAT and tariff guarantees have left hauliers refusing contracts to carry loads for small and medium sized businesses from the U.K.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The UK's ports have seen huge delays in dealing with paperwork since Brexit. (Getty)

A survey of international hauliers has found the volume of exports travelling from British ports to the EU fell 68% last month compared to the same period last year.

The government has offered a six-month grace period following Brexit, allowing the suspension of the full range of physical checks on imports until July.

On Thursday, former Tory chancellor Lord Lamont warned red tape linked to the Brexit deal had rendered most business between Britain and Northern Ireland uneconomic.

Two weeks earlier, the RHA said a 12-month grace period and urgent financial aid were needed to iron out problems with the post-Brexit Irish Sea trade border.

The government, however, has insisted that "goods are flowing effectively" between Britain and Northern Ireland.

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