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UK government’s ‘surprising’ plans after Brexit will ruin business, says M&S chair




The chairman of Arches & Spencer has become the latest business leader to criticize the government’s economic policy, with Archie Norman calling post-Brexit business plans “brilliant” and “shocking”.

Mr Norman, also an ex-Conservative MP, has urged the Foreign Secretary not to consider separate labeling for goods sold in Northern Ireland during negotiations with the EU.

According to excerpts obtained by The Telegraph, “the excessive cost of the labeling regime will drive up prices and reduce choice for consumers, further harming UK farmers and suppliers and affecting the competitiveness of UK retailers in other international markets.”

“The simple fact is that retailers already operate in near real-time digital information – day or night, at the click of a button, we can locate our products, be it at the depot, in transit Or be in a store.


“In the digital age – when a tap of a mobile can allow a customer to check-in to a store and locate their order in under 60 seconds, it is shocking that the government and the EU have introduced a system involving stickers. Let’s go back four decades to discuss expensive ‘solutions’ and labeling.

Both Britain and the European Union are keen to sign a deal to break the impasse over the Northern Ireland Protocol to Brexit ahead of April’s historic 25th anniversary of Northern Ireland’s historic Good Friday peace deal.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris insisted on Wednesday that London was not setting a deadline for talks on the controversial trading arrangements.


The DUP is currently halting the functioning of powersharing at Stormont and has made clear it will not allow devolution to return unless major changes are made to protocol.

An agreement between the EU and the UK would not guarantee the reinstatement of devolution, as the DUP could eventually reject it and continue its Stormont boycott.


Mr Norman said in May that EU proposals to administer the protocol are “highly bureaucratic and very wasteful”, noting that UK food standards are “equivalent or higher” than those set by Brussels.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program at the time that Block was suggesting that similar background checks, including veterinary checks required for the Republic of Ireland, are also required for goods being shipped from other parts of the UK to Northern Ireland.

“Coincidentally this means that every piece of butter in a sandwich must have an EU vet certificate, so it is highly bureaucratic and very wasteful,” he said.

The latest criticism of Mr Norman’s government plans as “baffling” billionaire businessman Sir James Dyson last week called out Rishi Sunak for his “short-sighted” approach to business.

The founder and chief engineer of Singapore-based multinational technology company Dyson called on Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to use the spring budget to “demonstrate his ambition for encouraging private innovation and growth”.

(translating to tag) Archie Norman


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