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Postal Communications: Customs

Volume 737: debated on Wednesday 6 September 2023

5. What steps he is taking to help ensure that postal communications between Britain and Northern Ireland are delivered without customs declarations. (906182)

Under the Windsor framework, sending parcels to friends and family in Northern Ireland will be as smooth and easy as it is today, removing any burdensome paperwork, costs or delays. Northern Ireland consumers will be able to order from businesses in the rest of the UK and receive goods in the post as they do now, without customs processes or burdensome costs. This will maintain consumer choice for British goods in Northern Ireland. Businesses sending goods to other businesses will use our new green lane.

A number of constituents and consumers have contacted me to highlight that many eBay or Amazon providers will no longer ship to Northern Ireland as they state that they cannot afford the enhanced fees, demonstrating that Northern Ireland continues to be treated differently. It is costing small businesses and individuals the ability to shop around. What steps can the Minister take to revisit the framework with our EU counterparts, to ensure free and fair trade throughout the United Kingdom that is clear and easy to follow for all businesses?

Under the protocol as it was, all parcels would have needed to complete full international customs processes. I believe that the suppliers to whom the hon. Gentleman refers will be making their plans under the protocol as it was. Under the Windsor framework, parcels to consumers will not be subject to those burdensome processes. He reminds us all that we need to redouble our efforts to communicate to suppliers the message that they will be able to take advantage of a new green lane and supply to consumers in Northern Ireland. It is a subject close to my heart, and I can see that it is extremely close to his too.