MPS raise no-deal bor­der fears

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Jack Maid­ment PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.