Report of the Interim Director of Consumer Protection and Markets Operations.
The Committee received a report of the Interim Director of Consumer Protection and Markets Operations updating Members on the impact of the UK leaving the EU (Brexit) on Port Health & Public Protection.
The Interim Director of Consumer Protection and Markets Operations reported that he had now received confirmation from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that costs incurred this financial year in terms of planning for Brexit would be recovered. Similar assurances were now being sought from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Interim Director of Consumer Protection and Markets Operations went on to report that there had been an increase of 56% in animals passing through the Animal Reception Centre as many people attempted to move their pets to the UK ahead of Brexit. However, recent months had also seen a decrease in the levels of produce of animal origin through the Ports. In response to questions around this, Members were informed that this could be attributable to natural trade fluctuations, but that careful consideration needed to be given to the downward trend that had emerged since the end of 2018.
Members were also informed that theCity of London Corporation had submitted a bid to the Food Standards Agency (FSA)for additional resources for the next financial year to increase the staffing levels at the London ports in anticipation of increased workloads after Brexit.
In response to questions around other sources of funding, the Interim Director of Consumer Protection and Markets Operations stated that the Department were keen to secure funding from central government in the first instance but that they may also seek to bid for funds from the City’s own Brexit Contingency Fund going forward. It was confirmed that an additional sum of approximately £10,000 may be required in the first instance.
In response to a question regarding staffing where concerns had previously been raised in relation to Brexit, the Interim Director reported that the Animal Reception Centre had already employed additional staff and that the Ports were looking to train new staff to a higher level.
RESOLVED – that the report be noted.