The British government said Tuesday it will delay introducing post-Brexit border controls on food and fresh produce from the European Union, postponing the start date to January 2024.

The UK had delayed implementing the checks several times since leaving the EU's customs union and single market in January 2021, but British exports have faced controls for products heading in the opposite direction.

The UK was planning to finally roll out its new import controls in phases over 12 months from October 31 this year.

"Having listened to the views of industry, the government has agreed to a delay of three months for the introduction of remaining sanitary and phytosanitary controls, as well as full customs controls for non-qualifying Northern Ireland goods," the government said.

It added that further controls for EU imports will also have a revised timetable "to give stakeholders additional time to prepare for the new checks".

This includes physical checks and safety declarations, which will be introduced in stages throughout 2024.

The Financial Times reported last week that the UK's finance minister Jeremy Hunt backed another delay to the border checks amid fears it would push up food prices during a cost-of-living crisis.

UK inflation, currently running at 6.8 percent, is the highest among G7 nations.

The UK left the European Union on January 31, 2020, after a referendum in favour of Brexit in 2016.

British exporters say EU controls have caused long delays at Channel ports, extra bureaucracy and cost, putting them at a commercial disadvantage with importers from the bloc.

Opponents say Brexit has erected barriers to trade with the UK's biggest overseas market for goods and services, pushing up the price of food and cutting exports.