Senior UK officials have confirmed that a decision to delay the new checks is now highly likely, with one senior source stating they expect an announcement to be made imminently.
They added that a range of options is being considered, including a delay of six months or more. It is thought that any delay will be limited to the SPS checks due to come into effect from October.
There are splits within Government over the postponement, with some officials convinced that another extension will merely prolong the uncertainty for businesses and prevent them from adjusting to the reality of post-Brexit trade.
Adam Marshall, the former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce and a senior adviser at Flint Global, said: “From a whole economy perspective, given the supply chain crisis and the inflation pressures, delaying friction on imports means no additional transport costs, no additional price pressures from that.”
Another senior business figure added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they delayed, given the pressure it is going to put on supply chains coming into the country.”
A third said: “I don’t believe we’re going to be ready for the disruption to the supply chain. We’re still going to want to eat salami next year. There’s so many things that will be disrupted if we do it straight away.
“It would probably be in the interests of the consumers of the UK if the SPS controls were delayed into 2022.”