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Morrisons granted special status to streamline border checks in hard Brexit

File photo dated 22/07/15 of passengers going through the UK Border at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport. The ID registration system for EU citizens in the UK after Brexit should also be rolled out to British citizens to avoid another Windrush scandal, a think tank has suggested. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 30, 2018. Extending the documentation programme for the 3.6 million Europeans living here to everyone else is among a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system recommended in a new report to strengthen the UK border. See PA story POLITICS Windrush. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Morrisons bosses are hoping the grocery chain will avoid border delays in the event of a hard Brexit after authorities granted the grocery group permission for streamlined customs checks.

Chief executive David Potts told reporters that Morrisons is now an "authorised economic operator" after getting the ball rolling nearly six months ago.

"In our case it means that we are considered by the authorities to be a company who has policies and procedures that are thorough and wholly trusted and therefore any hold-ups at customs are, to some extent, simplified," he said.

"I think it also avoids some fairly complex tariff refunds as well, so it's not a big investment but it just felt like a sensible thing to do."

Mr Potts said he did not know if other supermarkets had applied for the same status.

The chief executive stressed that Morrisons was still focused on British produce, making it less likely it would face shortages if hard Brexit resulted in border delays.

"If you're running a company like Morrisons where two-thirds of what we sell is British, where local sales are 30% up on last year and where... we remain the second British producer of British food in the world, and then I think to some extent we've got the wind at our backs in any event, frankly.

"And it's our job to do the best we possibly can to move this company forward and continue with the recovery regardless of macro circumstance, and that's what I think shareholders expect us to do."

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