Greens respond to NAO report showing Brexit border preparations unlikely to be completed in time

6 November 2020


With the end of the transition period less than two months away, the Green Party has condemned the government for failing to plan for the border checks that leaving the EU makes inevitable, and treating the businesses who really need to ‘get Brexit done’ with contempt.


Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack said: “This is not about deal or no deal: whatever emerges from the Brexit negotiations will mean massive changes at our borders. This has been clear since Theresa May decided to leave the single market and customs union nearly three years ago and yet the necessary preparations have not been made.1 The government has been derelict in its duty to prepare our borders and its own worst-case scenario shows that up to 70% of lorries carrying goods may not be Brexit ready.


“The NAO is right to point out that leaving these preparations so late means public money is being wasted on infrastructure that could and should, have been provided by the private sector if the government had planned ahead. This is nothing to do with the extended Brexit negotiations and everything to do with government incompetence.”


Molly Scott Cato, former MEP and party Brexit spokesperson added: “It was astonishing that the Prime Minister failed to mention Brexit preparations during his recorded speech to the CBI earlier in the week. Our businesses are capable of great flexibility but only if they are clear about what they need to plan for. Leaving them in the dark adds to the risks created by Covid-19 and leaves British businesses extremely vulnerable.


“We maintain our position that continued membership of the single market and customs union is in the best interests of British business. This would mean that none of these checks would be necessary and would ensure a continued smooth flow of goods in and out of the UK.”




Notes to Editors 

1. Theresa May Lancaster House Speech, January 2017:

2. The NAO reports that ‘The end of the transition period is unlike any previous EU Exit deadline in that, regardless of the outcome of negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK, things will change.’

They also note that: ‘there remains significant uncertainty about whether preparations will be complete in time, and the impact if they are not. Some of this uncertainty could have been avoided, and better preparations made, had the government addressed sooner issues such as expanding the customs intermediary market, developing a solution for roll-on, roll-off (RORO) traffic, upscaling customs systems and determining the requirements for infrastructure to enforce a new compliance regime.’



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