Give HMRC more cash to avoid 'catastrophic' Brexit fallout - MPs
MPs have issued a warning that leaving the EU without a proper new customs system in place would be "catastrophic".
Failure to implement a new framework for processing goods moving in and out of the country would “wreak havoc” for business, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned.
Labour chair Meg Hillier said the tax office should be “banging on the door of the Treasury” for new cash to ensure it has the tools required.
In a new report the PAC said some 55 million customs declarations were made in 2015 by 141,000 traders.
It said quitting the European customs union - which Theresa May has vowed to do - would see the number of declarations for HMRC to process rocket to 255 million a year.
If the new plan fails it could leave enormous build ups at ports with food left to rot in trucks waiting in line at Dover, the report warned.
“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,” Ms Hillier said.
“Confidence would collapse amid the potentially catastrophic effects.”
She said HMRC lacked funding to deal with the deluge of work after Brexit or to develop contingency options – but she added that only a “small sum” of extra cash was needed.
“HMRC must press the case to secure this funding now and ensure that, if other plans fail, customs will be fit for purpose,” she declared.