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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Boris Johnson's new red tape

With the government continuing to make a hash of Brexit, it is unsurprising that another leaked document has emerged, this time predicting that thousands of lorries could be stuck in queues for up to two days to cross the Channel to Europe after the UK transitions to Brexit on 1 January.

The Independent reports that the 46-page document presented to the government’s XO (exit operations) committee last week sets out the possibility of massive disruption in the county of Kent, whether or not Boris Johnson manages to secure a free trade agreement in the currently stalled talks with Brussels:

A “reasonable worst-case scenario” says that queues of up to 7,000 trucks may clog up roads approaching Channel ports in the first weeks of 2021, while thousands of passengers could also be forced to wait as long as two hours to board a Eurostar train through the Tunnel.

The paper, drawn up by the Border and Protocol Delivery Group and obtained by The Guardian, warned that a crucial IT system to be used by hauliers preparing documentation for the Channel crossing is not expected to be publicly tested until November.

The government estimates that at least 200 million additional pieces of paperwork will have to be filled in by exporters each year as a result of Brexit, at a cost estimated by HM Revenue and Customs at up to £20 billion annually - significantly more than the UK’s annual contributions to EU budgets.

The reasonable worst-case scenario set out to the XO committee, chaired by Michael Gove, would see 30-60 per cent of trucks being ready for the new arrangements.

“It is estimated a maximum queue of 6,500 HGVs may develop in January,” the report said.

Because of the lull in business activity over the Christmas and New Year period, disruption can be expected to be “lower in the initial days of January”, it said.

But it added: “We would expect sustained disruption to worsen over the first two weeks as demand builds.
“Considering demand levels in the first week of February, it is estimated that if readiness does not improve by then, queues could reach a length of 7,000 HGVs.
“In each case it is estimated that HGVs could take two days to reach the front of the queue.”
The paper also warned that passengers on Eurostar and at airports could face “significant disruption” if UK nationals are not allowed to use e-gates.

It's just as well that we left the EU to reduce red tape.

Brexiters to Remainers -'You lost, get over it'
Remainers to Brexiters -You won,take the consequences
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