The UK authorities has bowed to intense strain from trade and introduced plans to scale back the bureaucratic calls for related to the introduction of a brand new post-Brexit “UKCA” security and high quality assurance mark.
Paul Scully, the small-business minister, mentioned on Monday that the UK would move modifications to make it “easier and cheaper” to transition to the brand new UKCA regime, which has been closely criticised as pointless and costly by trade our bodies.
The “easements”, which embrace recognising EU assessments on current merchandise as the premise for awarding a UKCA mark, have been designed to “reduce compliance burdens and prevent costs that could be passed on to consumers,” he mentioned.
However, trade teams, whereas welcoming the concession, warned that the federal government’s resolution to press forward with the certification scheme from January 1 2023 would nonetheless pile prices on to enterprise for no apparent profit.
The UKCA certificates, whose introduction has already been delayed by a 12 months, is a British equal of the EU’s widely-used and internationally recognised “CE” security mark.
The British Chambers of Commerce mentioned in December that companies have been “not persuaded” by the UKCA. It welcomed the most recent transfer to chop the expense of introducing the scheme, however warned it didn’t remedy broader issues over the price of the coverage.
“After the end of 2022 firms will face significant new cost pressures from the introduction of the new markings system,” mentioned William Bain, head of commerce coverage on the BCC.
Under the modifications, the federal government has dropped a requirement for imported elements to hold a UKCA mark earlier than being fitted to equipment — akin to a German-made carry — already put in within the UK.
But Nick Mellor, managing director of the Lift and Escalator Industry Association, mentioned the concession, whereas welcome, wouldn’t assist with the longer term price of certifying some 8,000 lifts put in every year, with 1,200 various kinds of security parts.
“It is important to recognise that, even with these measures, having to take equipment through UK conformity assessment has been, and will continue to be, an extra cost on UK businesses without delivering any increase in safety or quality,” he added.
The development trade, which warned final 12 months that UKCA marks would trigger shortages of constructing supplies, mentioned the concession would assist preserve merchandise flowing however that key technical elements concerning the UKCA regime remained unanswered.
“There are still a number of significant questions that need to be worked through, such as the persistent shortfall in capacity of the UK certification and testing sector,” mentioned Peter Caplehorn, chief govt of the Construction Products Association.
Scully mentioned the UKCA mark enabled the UK “to take control of the way products are regulated” however trade teams have warned towards making a twin certification regime for items which have handed EU assessments.
Critics have additionally famous that CE-marked items are free to flow into in Northern Ireland and due to this fact have unfettered entry to Great Britain’s market, elevating questions as to why CE-marked items can’t be accepted from Europe or the remainder of the world.
Sam Lowe, director of commerce on the consultancy Flint Global, mentioned that whereas there was an argument for a separate UK regime in some sectors, it didn’t must be imposed on all areas without delay.
“It would make more sense for the UK to commit long-term to an approach that, unless there is a good reason, allows for EU CE markings to be sufficient for products placed on the UK market, so long as the underlying UK product standard is the same,” he mentioned.
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