Today we hear that it will be a catastrophe if an effective customs system is not in place by the time Brexit comes about….long queues and food rotting at the ports.
Why though might there not be an effective system? The BBC does tell us….
The Public Accounts Committee warned of “huge disruption” to businesses, “massive queues” at Dover port and food rotting in lorries at the border.
The committee’s report urged the government to commit the “relatively small” sum of £7.3m to upgrade the existing system to cope with this increase if the move to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) was delayed.
So some upfront funding, a tiny amount, is needed to fend off catastrophe. Hmmm OK, not unexpected. In fact people were demanding that not long ago in October and the request was rudely rebuffed by our pro-EU Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Brexit chaos as Philip Hammond refuses to budget for ‘no deal’ days after Theresa May announces plans
Preparations for a “no deal’ Brexit have been plunged into further confusion after the Chancellor said it would be irresponsible to start spending billions of pounds now.
Those plans would involve spending huge sums of money on new IT systems and border processes, lorry parks and extra staff – when the Treasury already faces a daunting Budget “black hole”
So an anti-Brexit chancellor is doing all he can to make Brexit a disaster, a ‘catastrophe’, and does so in complete opposition to the PM.
And yet the BBC makes absolutely no reference to this? No mention that it is the pro-EU chancellor’s refusal to do anything that would ensure Brexit works that could lead to ‘catastrophe’?
How odd that the pro-EU BBC should fail to mention that when the PAC Chair says HMRC ‘should be banging on the doors of the Treasury.’
May should have ‘reshuffled’ Hammond months ago.
The BBC waffles on about a great deal here…and yet the main point of the PAC is the funding…it is the Chair’s only real point….
Comment from Public Accounts Chair, Meg Hillier MP:
“Failure to have a viable customs system in place before the UK’s planned exit from the EU would wreak havoc for UK business, trade and our international reputation. Confidence would collapse amid the potentially catastrophic effects.
HMRC is under considerable pressure to deliver the new Customs Declaration Service in time, but it does not yet have funding to increase the capacity of CDS to deal with the consequences of Brexit—nor to develop contingency options.
This is deeply worrying. HMRC requires a relatively small sum to upgrade the current CHIEF system—a move which would provide some peace of mind to traders, many of whom are still operating with limited information and in great uncertainty.
HMRC tells us it is merely ‘in conversation’ over CHIEF upgrade costs when, on behalf of business and the British public, it should be banging on the doors of the Treasury.
HMRC must press the case to secure this funding now and ensure that, if other plans fail, customs will be fit for purpose.”