Hillier: govt will struggle to deliver Brexit border changes

Posted On: 
21st October 2017

The government will find the “huge changes” Brexit demands to UK borders a challenge to deliver in time, according to the chairwoman of the public accounts committee.

Meg Hillier chairing a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.
Credit: 
PA Images

Meg Hillier was responding to yesterday’s National Audit Office report, which predicted Brexit would levy increased demands on the UK border, whose workforce has decreased 4% over the past four years.

The report noted that the uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with the European Union made “detailed planning and management inherently difficult”. 

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But it estimated that if existing border checks for travellers from outside the European Economic Area were extended to those within it, UK Visas and Immigration would have to make 230% more decisions each year. If customs declarations were required for EU-UK trade, these would likely increase 360%. 

Ms Hillier said: "The government can't even get started on many of these challenges until we have progress on the exit deal.

"Add to that the Home Office's poor track record with projects like e-borders and for all the government bluster about Brexit it's difficult to see how, practically, it will be able to deliver any of these huge changes in time."

A government spokesman said: "We have set out proposals for an ambitious future trade and customs relationship with the EU and we will be setting out proposals for the future immigration system in due course.

"We will of course ensure we have the resources we need to continue to run an effective customs, borders and immigration system in the future."