'Let's get going': UK tells businesses to prepare for Brexit crunch

Elias Hubbard
July 13, 2020

It comes after the government announced a £705m funding package to help manage Britain's borders after Brexit - measures Labour said were "too little, too late" and showed that ministers were unprepared.

'With or without further agreement with the European Union, this £705 million will ensure the infrastructure, tech and border personnel are in place so that our traders and the border industry are able to manage the changes and seize the opportunities as we lay the foundations for the world's most effective and secure border'.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has authorised £470 million to be spent on infrastructure such as border control posts, and a further £235 million for computer systems and extra staff, including 500 more Border Force personnel.

It covers European Union borders with Great Britain: England, Scotland and Wales. Initial guidance for Northern Ireland is expected to be published in the coming weeks.

There have been concerns about the UK's preparedness for the impact of the new rules and questions as to why such projects were not launched earlier.

In a letter leaked to Business Insider last week, the UK's worldwide trade secretary Liz Truss raised deep concerns about the government's border plans, warning that they could break global trade rules and lead to smuggling from the EU.

The border control package, which Gove said would help "seize the opportunities as we lay the foundations for the world's most effective and secure border", pertains to only those of England, Scotland, and Wales.

Millions of Britons whose passports are due to expire in the next year are being urged to apply for a new one now, as part of a stepping up of efforts to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period.

Boris Johnson's government has said it plans to phase in checks on goods from the European Union - although on the continent checks on goods arriving from the United Kingdom are due to start immediately.

It said the extra costs and red tape were the natural effect of the UK's decision to leave the EU's Single Market and Customs Union.

He insisted that Britain's borders would be ready by the end of the transition period, despite concern expressed by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

With businesses on both sides of the Channel now less than six months away from new border arrangements and, potentially, the imposition of tariffs on goods, the Johnson government has come under pressure to give businesses enough time to prepare for life outside the Single Market. Gove argues the new rules, created to entice higher-skilled workers, will attract "scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs".

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: "At the end of this year we are leaving the single market and customs union regardless of the type of agreement we reach with the EU".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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