PAC report: 'Catastrophic' if viable customs system not in place at Brexit

Released 14 November 2017

HMRC should be banging on the Treasury doors for the small amount of funding needed to ensure customs system is ready for Brexit, says PAC.

The Public Accounts Committee has published a report warning Government must do more to work with businesses and ensure contingency option in place well before January 2019. The report forms part of the Committee's ongoing examination of aspects of the UK's departure from the EU. 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.

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.’

For more information and to view the report, see 'Catastrophic' if viable customs system not in place at Brexit.

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