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In the long-running Peanuts cartoon series, there was a recurring joke whereby Lucy holds out a football for Charlie Brown to punt and, every time, she promises she won’t pull it away. Reassured, he runs in full speed, only for her to pull it away… so he flails through the air and crashes to the ground, while Snoopy watches on ruefully.

I call this to mind because the UK government is reportedly about to postpone the new border checks for food imported to the UK from the EU. It is, once again, the right decision. It appears HM Treasury has realised bringing in a measure that will so obviously lead to higher food prices is not a good idea when the country is in the grip of an inflation spiral.

Inflation is not the only reason it would have been a bad idea to bring in these controls on 31 October. We are again in a situation where, three months from the self-imposed deadline, the final version of the rules is not ready. Awareness levels amongst EU-based businesses remain incredibly poor. The IT systems we are set to rely on remain largely untested and there are hundreds of details that still require clarification. Finally, the promised ‘trusted trader’ schemes that would give post-Brexit UK ‘the smartest border in the world’ exist only as promises and prototypes.

That said, we sympathise deeply with the frustration of UK farmers and food producers about the unfairness of this. They have faced full ‘third country’ controls on food goods since the UK exited the single market, while goods from European competitors continue to flow largely unrestricted. It’s not right. But two wrongs won’t make it so.

EU food supplies are vital to our market equilibrium. The UK imports twice as much food from the EU as it exports to the bloc. The EU accounts for 90% of the food we import, and imported food constitutes 40% of the food we eat.

Some people believe passionately that Brexit should mean more of what we eat is produced within our own Isles. Government itself has intimated this at times – this is what Defra secretary Thérèse Coffey meant by suggesting we all ‘eat more turnips’.

The problem is, making it harder to source food from the single market does not mean an automatic shift to consuming more domestically produced food. It is actually more likely businesses will react to this friction by looking to markets even further away. That was, after all, the premise underpinning the ‘cheaper food after Brexit’ promises of the free market economists of the Leave campaign. It is also an impulse clearly signalled in the recently signed Australia free trade deal.

That said, debating these bigger issues may be fruitless for now. The latest delay is not a signal of a rethink of UK policy on post-Brexit food trade. It’s simply a firebreak for an administration desperately trying to extinguish an inflation crisis it is largely powerless to combat. Not Brexit rethought, just Brexit delayed.

Lucy is reassuring us she won’t pull the ball away in January 2024, so for now it’s back to our marks. Get ready to run in again.