17. Weekly Newsletter

UK Government postpone post-Brexit border controls
The UK government has informed port authorities that critical health and safety checks for EU imports will not be implemented when post-Brexit border controls begin this month, citing the risk of significant disruption. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) outlined a plan to avoid queues of lorries at ports, proposing a phased implementation approach to the new border measures to prevent potential delays. This is the fifth time the implementation of new border controls has been postponed since 2021.

Businesses will face a maximum charge of £145 “per consignment” for goods coming from the EU from April 30, as Defra advises against sharing its plan with businesses to avoid negative news stories. Defra assured that the main customs system will continue to run, focusing on high-risk products, while a phased approach will be adopted to activate full customs checks depending on the port’s workload.

 

Newspapers
Over the last seven days, the UK’s front page news cycle has covered varied topics. Rishi Sunak expected to unveil new UK warship programme, IMF urges UK to curb rising debt, and MPs vote for smoking ban despite Tories’ division over policy. Some of the newspaper headlines from this week were:

 

UK faces legal quandaries over seizing Russian assets
Despite pressure to act against Russian aggression, the UK Government is confronted with legal and tactical challenges in seizing Russian assets to support Ukraine. Since Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, calls have been made to seize Russian-owned properties and assets in Britain, but legal experts argue that there is no legal standing for such actions.

Despite high-profile announcements, little has been done to seize Russian assets, with frozen assets being viewed as a temporary measure rather than a permanent confiscation. While there are calls to use these assets to aid Ukraine, concerns about legal precedent and the rule of law have slowed progress.

The issue of seizing Russian assets to support Ukraine is mired in a complex legal and political landscape. Beyond the legal challenges, there are concerns that such actions could deter investment and damage the UK’s reputation as a financial hub. With the issue becoming increasingly politicised ahead of the upcoming general election, the debate over seizing Russian assets is far from settled, highlighting the delicate balance between the need for action against Russian aggression and the UK’s other interests.

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