Brexit casts doubt over new customs system

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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Brexit casts doubt over new customs system

National Audit Office warns that new computer system will not have capacity to deal with fivefold rise in customs declarations after Brexit

Brexit casts doubt over new customs system

Customs declarations are expected to rise from 55m to 255m a year after Brexit

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An inquiry will be conducted into how prepared Britain’s customs computer system is for a post-Brexit surge in customs checks.

The Treasury select committee, to be chaired by former education secretary Nicky Morgan, will hear from ministers and bosses at HM Revenue & Customs on whether the new system will be able to handle the implications of a hard Brexit, Sky News reported. There are fears it will not be capable of processing all the declarations it needs to.

The announcement of the inquiry, which is yet to be signed off, follows a warning from the National Audit Office that the new Customs Declaration Service system would not be able to process the 255 million customs declarations a year that are expected when Britain leaves the EU.

HMRC expects the number of annual customs declarations to rise almost five times from 55m from 255m, according to Sky News.

The new system, which was signed off before the Brexit referendum, is due to be implemented just two months before Brexit in March 2019. But it has been given an "amber/red" status as ministers are worried it may not be fit for purpose.

 

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