Brexit affects sales of Royal British Legion merchandise in the EU

19 June 2021, 08:31 | Updated: 22 June 2021, 15:51

The Royal British Legion will no longer sell poppies in the European Union due to red tape following Brexit, according to reports
The Royal British Legion will no longer sell poppies in the European Union due to red tape following Brexit, according to reports. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The Royal British Legion is stopping sales of its Poppy shop merchandise to customers in the EU over Brexit customs fees.

While the sales of paper poppies will be going ahead as normal, goods sold by the online Poppy Shop to customers in the EU will be subject to the local rate of VAT and customs fees from 1st July.

This is likely to send costs of the products up, something with the Legion says they do not think it "reasonable".

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Poppies are worn in October and November for Armistice Day, and the charity sells them to raise money for members of the armed forces, veterans and their families.

It also sells a range of poppy jewellery, clothing and accessories through its online Poppy Shop.

Poppies are worn in October and November for Armistice Day, and the charity sells them to raise money for members of the armed forces, veterans and their families
Poppies are worn in October and November for Armistice Day, and the charity sells them to raise money for members of the armed forces, veterans and their families. Picture: PA

A spokesperson for The Royal British Legion said: "The RBL’s distribution of paper poppies to the EU is not affected as a result of the UK leaving the European Union. Goods sold by our online Poppy Shop to customers in the EU will be subject to the local rate of VAT and customs fees from 1st July. 

"These costs are often higher than the value of the goods themselves and to pass them on to customers is not reasonable, therefore regrettably we are ceasing sales to customers in countries in the EU until such time as that legislation is reviewed."

A Government spokeswoman said: "We are focused on supporting UK organisations as they adjust to our new trading relationship with the EU.

"The work of The Royal British Legion and the money they raise through their annual poppy appeal is incredibly important and we will engage with them to ensure they get the support they need to operate in the EU."

Businesses have faced tough new rules following Britain's severing of ties with the EU.

Retailers, fishermen and fresh food companies have complained the new measures are delaying deliveries and increasing their costs due to the extra customs checks and paperwork.

Read more: Tees Valley Mayor gives LBC exclusive tour of UK's largest post-Brexit freeport

London and Brussels are currently locked in a battle over the Northern Ireland Protocol following the unilateral action taken by the British government earlier this year to apply an extension to a transition period.

The action was aimed to try and help goods move more easily between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after supermarkets' shelves in Northern Ireland were stripped bare due to exporting and importing problems in early 2021.

The move was criticised by Brussels and on Thursday, the UK formally requested an extension, allowing sausages, burgers and mince to continue being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland until September 30.

The European Commission is currently assessing the request.

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