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Saturday, 12 October 2019

Internet shopping post-Brexit

I am an inveterate internet shopper. This is generally because I am an ingrained price-chaser and source stuff from across the world - including knock-off Poulsen luminaires from China, still a third of the cost of the originals even with shipping and customs duties and VAT added. So I am used to the process, which is simple and efficient here. The Post drops you a card with a URL and reference, one logs-on to the website, enters a few details, scans a couple of documents and makes a SOFORT transfer and then the goods are delivered. Not a problem a few times a year - but what about those regular weekly / monthly purchases from UK suppliers or UK eBay?

Well, those regular suppliers, you won't be surprised to know, are already ready for Brexit. Everything bought via the internet from outside the EU needs a customs sticker as the delivery of a couple of memory sticks from 7-day shop yesterday shows -

After Brexit the value will be the critical factor. No VAT is payable on imports under €22, and no customs tariff on imports below €150. UK suppliers who are VAT registered will in future make sales to EU customers free of UK VAT. Thus purchases under €22 will (I expect) be 20% cheaper - like my memory sticks.

One of my other regular monthly buys is from Screwfix (the Kingfisher group's success story).  Screws, fixings, blades and discs, sealants, adhesives mostly - much cheaper than local. They offer free delivery to Europe on orders over £50 and looking at my order values over the past year -

They're all well under the €150 customs duty limit - the UK cost will (I expect) be 20% lower, local VAT will be payable at 20% so the net result is zilch.

There will always be a few exceptions that will no longer be economic. Pallet deliveries, mostly. I've become used to booking my own pallet deliveries online, for as little as £160 a pallet. Stone floor tiles from Italy, a nation whose border is fifteen minutes drive away, cost no less than £65/m2 plus delivery (a minimum of €200 per pallet load) from any of the EU27 but can be bought from the UK for £27/m2 plus delivery. Yes, the exact same tiles from the same quarries. I need another 14m2 for an unfinished bathroom so will have to figure this out after Brexit. 

But so far, the personal impact of Brexit looks to be .... nil. Bring it on.


JPM said...

Could you just clarify, Raedwald.

You do still live in Austria, right?

If so, then why would the UK's not yet having left the European Union affect your shopping anyway?

Raedwald said...

Cheesy - DO learn to read. The post title is the answer to your fatuous question.

Dave_G said...

To many people who abhor the EU and all it stands for, a 20% increase in costs would be worth getting shot of them.

Of course, this isn't going to happen but thanks to the media the general public will not be made fully aware of ANY of the advantages leaving the EU - only the (so-called and widely, falsely, advertised) disadvantages.

Anonymous said...

I'm stockpiling toilet rolls just in case....if we run out i'll be forced to use Labour party leaflets.

Dr Evil said...

Once we leave the EU, if we actually do so, then VAT must be abolished. It is an EU tax. Replacing it with a simple sales tax will kill a lot of bureaucracy. 20% tax is ridiculous.

jim said...

Once/if we leave then I doubt the problem will be buying German motor cars or pallets of tiles. Or the shipment of Cornish pasties and Cumberland pencils to the South Seas.

No, the problem the UK government will soon face is tax income - there won't be any. Gradually the car industry will leave, sooo last year anyway. To be replaced with errr nothing unless the ERG get their way and we work for a mess of pottage per day making packets of pins. Our new industries will be services:- fintech, hightech and notech for low wages. What exactly these services will be is hard to see, especially as every EU nation will be watching closely and seeking to copy or grab a slice of the action. Not easy to win against tariff barriers or large cultural differences.

The key is tax income, the lack of it. Corbyn or Johnson will make no difference, fiscal desperation makes rogues of them all. Tax might initially go down (Econ101), but fail to raise any stimulus whereupon it will have to go up, steeply. Now the UK does have one big asset, all those oldies with houses and land, well they did have houses and land...... But that was the Brexit plan all along. Bail out to the EU, oh, you did already.

Labour would be wise to delay elections to the max, let Johnson stew in his own juice and let Corbyn shuffle off this mortal coil.

Domo said...

" Gradually the car industry will leave,"
You say that like assembling cars is the dominant industry in the UK, or the word.
Manufacturing city cars ceased to be a be high value proposition a long time ago.

"Our new industries will be services:- fintech, hightech and notech for low wages. What exactly these services will be is hard to see, especially as every EU nation will be watching closely and seeking to copy or grab a slice of the action. Not easy to win against tariff barriers or large cultural differences."
Ah yes, the EU will steal them.
Can you name an EU tech Company?
Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Intel, AMD
The UK has ARM at least

What does the EU have?

Mark The Skint Sailor said...

Tax income from UK car manufacture would decrease anyway, as the EU negotiated a trade deal with japan that allows them to import cars from Japan tariff free thereby removing the need to build Nissan, Toyota and Honda cars in the EU and by extrapolation, the UK. Which explains the closure of Honda The EU good for UK jobs?? Nah.
But on the upside tax-wise, post-Brexit the big corporates like Starbucks, Amazon, Google and eBay won't be able to offshore their corporation tax liabilities. They will have to pay it right here in the UK.

The high end vehicles we build here mainly go to non-EU countries so the affect on them will be negligible. The affect on parts coming in from the EU to build the cars will be negligible.
The only impact we are seeing on transshipment of parts between the UK and EU and vice-versa is increased shipping times. It's happening already. Longer shipping times can be managed and the only extra cost is the cost of the extra parts on extra trucks necessary to maintain the supply chain.
We also import outside the EU and all of that will hopefully reduce in cost as EU tariffs are replaced with more reasonable rates.

Radders, as you say most changes will be neutral. There will be pluses and minuses across the board.
Small UK business should benefit as the hairdressers and other businesses that don't trade with the EU lose the extra costs of EU interference and tariffs on imports reduce.

Dave_G said...

Not entirely sure of the percentage of UK businesses that trade directly with the EU but they certainly don't form a majority. Heavens knows what the actual EU trade levels are since they conflate goods exported outside the EU (but traded via European ports) as 'EU' trade....

Using the car industries as a yardstick is fruitless given they are on the verge of collapse anyway - ask the Germans about it.

Globally, trade is on the decline and businesses everywhere are going to suffer. But those businesses that are constrained by excessive regulation and taxes will suffer more than others. A UK free of EU red tape and unnecessary/punitive taxation, with an ability to set corporate tax rates to suit themselves, will weather the oncoming economic storm a lot better than others.

Smoking Scot said...

With respect to the "car industry"; that's been chasing subsidies for decades. The new Defender will be assembled somewhere in the EU, but not in the UK. That's because they got a stack of incentives to do so.

The Skint Sailor got it bang on about Honda and other Japanese plants. However there's another side to this. Aston Martin's boss said ages ago that Brexit was not an issue with them, same deal with good old Morgan. RR and Bentley couldn't care less because their market is not really affected by a couple of thousand quid. Very few luxury cars are sold as standard, most are specced close to the hilt.

However there are two that I love. JCB and Triumph motorbikes. Both in private hands and both completely indifferent to the big B. Suspect the same is true of Norton motorbikes.

Nope, with respect to the vehicle side of things, purely indigenous companies have been moving upmarket and into lucrative niche businesses (buses, fire engines - that sort of thing) for years.

With respect to tax revenue, don't underestimate the benefits of our not having to pay the EU, nor of getting out from under the Cameron albatross of overseas aid. And Boris knows perfectly well that a cut in tax rates usually results in greater revenue, reason being the rich don't like being fleeced. Something Scotland will soon discover (us having the highest rate of income tax in Britain).

Span Ows said...

On my travels I speak to a number of differnet nationalities, none of those from outside the EU seems overly concerned, even the EUopians think they'll be minimal disruption: no more than any simple change in protocols, that often occur. it may be intersting to see if our trade with Europe goes up (that's Europe, not the EU although we'd happily keep trading with them too).

Domo said...

The UKs car plants are closing because the government plans to make them illegal in 10 years.
You cant ban petrol cars and whine at the closure of petrol car factories.

Anonymous said...

Domo @ 10:49
Diesels will go before then.
Saddo Khan and his cabal of Pedestrianistas and CycleNazis will drive them from London first.
Then other cities will see the chance to fleece motorists for more cash.
The only vehicles left will belong to Cabs, couriers , haulage and bus companies who will pass any charges on to the public.
Only the rich will be able to use Britain’s roads freely , unimpeded by poor trash who will have to find other means .

JPM said...

The Ultra Low Emission Zone for London was one Mr. Johnson's plan when he was mayor.

He forecast the end of fossil fuelled transport in the capital by about 2030, I think it was.


Dave_G said...

As much as people might WANT fossil fueled vehicles gone, the practicalities of their replacement have yet to be put in place. There is no infrastructure (including the energy source), there is no real demand (you can't offer endless subsidies) and the whole idea of their replacement is predicated on the fake scare of CO2 'pollution' - a total fabricated lie.

If/when common sense prevails we will return to a more prosperous society built on cheap and plentiful FOSSIL fuel energy.

Anonymous said...

JPM @12:30
May be of Boris origin but no requirement for Fundamentalist Khan to implement it or increase its effect on poorer motorists driving older cars and specifically residents living and working in London.
These cars still pass The MOT test emissions standard . It is “roads for the rich”.
You can tell it is vindictive by Khan’s refusal to allow exhaust abatement devices to be fitted . Pure spite .
Khan is in thrall to the eco and cycle lobbies and probably Stinky Rebellion as well.

In this instance you have been polite , and I feel it is courteous to reply.

JPM said...

Across the web, slowly, the tired old repeated myths are petering out.

It's now generally accepted that:

a) The European Union does NOT need the UK more than vice-versa.

b) Seventy-five percent of our laws are NOT made in Brussels.

c) The UK's borders were always closed, and all immigration subject to sovereign control. The normal movement of fellow Europeans around our common home is not what a reasonable person would call immigration.

d) That Germany does NOT control the European Union, so that even if its car industry did pressure Merkel -and it did not - that alone would not allow the UK to bully anyone.

e) The suggestion that life for ordinary people will be little affected by a disorderly exit will wait its turn too.

Mark said...

"It's now generally accepted....."

Cheerful, you are not "generally"