Reader Phil Biles has been frustrated by his attempts to get this letter in the Bournemouth Echo, not least because another letter writer seemed to secure publication of his letters on a weekly basis, despite his assertions “having no basis in fact”.
Here is the letter which failed to get exposure:
In response to the news that the EU was to charge UK visitors €7 to enter the Schengen zone, one of our local MPs (Conor Burns, Bournemouth West) commented on social media in August:
‘We must absolutely not impose the same on EU visitors to the UK‘.
The MP seems to be unaware that the UK Government in May proposed legislation to introduce a new electronic travel authorisation system to mirror that already in force in the USA and also planned by the EU. Conor Burns supported the legislation. Although the Home Secretary declined to clarify how much visitors would be charged, it seems unlikely that it will be cost free.
Apart from this oversight from the MP, it is also strange that he is concerned about the extra bureaucracy and cost for EU citizens visiting the UK, but has been silent on the additional bureaucracy and cost imposed on UK business wishing to trade with the EU. For instance, HMRC estimates that there will be an additional administrative burden of £7.5 billion per year to business for completing customs declarations for all EU trade in goods movements.
Additionally, products for the GB market will have to conform to a new product standard: UKCA (UK conformity assessed), to deliver compliant products in GB. Firms wishing to sell products within the EU will still need to use the CE mark. This duplication of effort and monitoring of potentially differing regulatory systems will inevitably impact the efficiency and cost base of businesses.
Also those businesses using, making, selling or importing chemicals in the UK will need to ensure compliance with UK REACH chemical regulations, as well as EU REACH, if they export to the EU. Obviously this will be another administrative and financial burden to business.
The MP declares himself to be an advocate of free trade. Whilst I don’t doubt that this is sincere, it seems peculiar that he should object to bureaucracy and costs for EU citizens but not have, so far, made any comment on the ramifications for UK business that will be impacted by barriers to trade,imposed entirely by the UK Government and its hard Brexit. It seems perverse that Conservative MPs who constantly bemoan the imposition of red tape have acquiesced to this situation.
47 Gladelands Way
It would be good if Conor Burns could respond to this question. Indeed, if any Conservative minister has a sensible justification for the explosion in Brexit-related red tape…the very opposite of what was promised at the time of the referendum…then we would be very happy to publish it.