Concession won for charity shops in event of no-deal Brexit

Melanie May | 1 March 2019 | News

The government will continue to allow second hand CE marked goods to be sold in charity shops if the UK leaves the European Union without a trade deal, it has been agreed.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) Kelly Tolhurst MP confirmed that CE marked goods – new or second hand – can continue to be sold in the UK in an answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Toby Perkins MP for Chesterfield.
Last month, the Charity Retail Association called on Business Secretary, Greg Clark MP in a letter, to protect the sector in the event of a “no deal” Brexit asking that any CE marked goods held in stock by charity shops would still allowed to be sold.
Responding to the news, the Association said:

“We are delighted by the news that the government will continue to allow second hand CE marked goods to be sold in charity shops if the UK leaves the European Union without a trade deal. We will continue to campaign for our members’ ability to trade in future is met with minimum disruption as a result of leaving the European Union.”

Bianca Silva, partner at accounting firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, welcomed the decision but added that a long-term solution is needed.
“It’s welcome news that charity retailers will still be able to sell on donated products with the CE (Confirmite Europeene) marking, the label that indicates conformity to the health, safety and environmental protection standards for goods sold in the European Economic Area (EEA), in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, the government has cautioned that this would be for a ‘time limited period’ and the charity sector still needs a long-term solution to this regulatory mess.
“Donated goods in charity shops are not particularly fast moving, so the ‘time limited period’ for acceptance of goods with EU regulated labels still poses a problem for charity retailers, who may become reluctant to risk accepting donations for fear of being stuck with unsellable goods in future.
“With the CE markings being replaced with a new UK equivalent, charity shops need assurances that the UK will continue to recognise EU standards as acceptable in the UK for second-hand goods in the long term. This would avoid the unfeasible cost of making existing stock unsellable, and also the wider environmental impact of removing the ability to donate these goods for resale and reuse. We could be left in the tragic situation of finding hordes of goods that would otherwise find their way into charity shops, being thrown away because their CE marking would render them unsellable.
“With less than a month to go, who even knew that one impact of a no-deal Brexit could be to decimate the charity sector’s ability to accept and sell second-hand goods? The charity sector needs to keep a sharp eye out for any further gremlins lurking in the regulatory upheaval and confusion Brexit may bring.”

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