The Financial Times reports the UK is likely to face “widespread disruption” as the result of its failure to prepare adequately for the new border controls that businesses will face next year after Brexit, a report from the public spending watchdog has warned.
The 85-page National Audit Office assessment of UK border preparedness paints a bleak picture across the board, warning of insufficient customs brokers, unprepared border sites and a failure to build enough capacity in new customs software.
From next year the UK will need to process 270m customs declarations a year — compared with 60m at present — according to estimates by HM Revenue & Customs, with £1.4bn committed this year to funding new infrastructure.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said there had been a “startling” lack of progress in relation to border preparations and called on the government to consider an additional grace period or financial compensation.
“It is a serious and urgent matter which presents a genuine risk to the UK’s food and drink supply and the availability of products for shoppers,” he added.