MPS raise no-deal border fears
THE Government’s approach to preparing the UK’S borders in the event of a no-deal Brexit is “reckless” and based on “wishful thinking”, an influential committee of MPS has said.
The public accounts committee (PAC) is warning the Government to do more or the border could be exposed from day one of the UK’S departure.
In a report, the committee fears officials are working on the assumption of a post-brexit transition period after March 2019, which would allow time to put in place border infrastructure.
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, announced in the Budget last month that he was setting aside £3billion to prepare for Brexit on top of the £700million already invested.
But Meg Hillier, PAC chairman, said the Government’s approach was “not fit for purpose”. She said: “Government preparations for Brexit assume that leaving the EU will present no additional border risks from freight or passengers. It has acted – or rather, not acted – on this basis. This approach … might generously be described as cautious. But against the hard deadline of Brexit it is borderline reckless – an over-reliance on wishful thinking that risks immediately exposing the UK.”
In 2016, 300 million people and 500million tons of goods crossed the border, she added.
“After Brexit, the number of decisions required about people or goods crossing could more than treble and more than quadruple respectively.
“These figures should concern all in Government and in our view its current approach is not fit for purpose.”