UK could need ‘5,000 more cus­toms of­fi­cials af­ter Brexit’

Iran Daily - - Global Economy -

The head of the UK tax agency has said Bri­tain could need up to 5,000 ex­tra staff to han­dle cus­toms and bor­der checks af­ter Brexit.

Her Majesty’s Rev­enue and Cus­toms (HMRC) boss John Thomp­son also said a new cus­toms ar­range­ment with the EU could cost as much as £800 mil­lion and take seven years to im­ple­ment, BBC re­ported.

Speak­ing be­fore the Trea­sury Com­mit­tee, he said HMRC did not have the money at this point to make the changes.

But he said there had been ‘ex­ten­sive con­ver­sa­tions’ with the Trea­sury.

Thomp­son said HMRC was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ‘busi­ness case’ for a new Sin­ga­pore-style sys­tem, which would al­low firms to get their tax and bor­der checks done in one place.

This would bring to­gether 26 dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions into a ‘sin­gle win­dow’, and make trade ‘much smoother’. How­ever, he said the un­der­tak­ing would be a ‘mega pro­ject’. “We need to be trans­par­ent with you... You need to be think­ing about that as a pro­ject that costs some­where be­tween £500 mil­lion and £800 mil­lion,” he told MPS. “It would take five to seven years to im­ple­ment,” he said. An­other HMRC of­fi­cial told the MPS the agency would have to deal with an ad­di­tional 130,000 new com­pa­nies af­ter Brexit.

Jim Harra, di­rec­tor gen­eral of cus­tomer strat­egy, said these would be firms that im­port and ex­port within the EU but do not cur­rently come into con­tact with Bri­tish cus­toms.

“Based on a crude ex­trap­o­la­tion”, he said this would in­crease cus­toms dec­la­ra­tions five­fold, along with staff work­load.

“If your cus­toms dec­la­ra­tions are mul­ti­plied five­fold, if you mul­ti­plied your re­sources five­fold, what would that come out at. “It would come out at an ex­tra three to 5,000 peo­ple,” he said. Last month the gov­ern­ment re­vealed its ‘fu­ture part­ner­ship pa­per’, which laid out two po­ten­tial op­tions for cus­toms ar­range­ments af­ter Brexit.

One op­tion would be a new cus­toms part­ner­ship with the EU, which would do away with a cus­toms bor­der al­to­gether.

The other would see the UK ne­go­ti­ate agree­ments with the EU to re­duce trade bar­ri­ers and har­ness tech­nol­ogy to avoid long queues at ports.


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