UK's border systems not ready in no-deal Brexit, warns parliament committee
LONDON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee warned Wednesday of the danger border checkpoints will not be ready if Britain crashes out of the European Union with no deal.
Politician Meg Hillier said in a statement issued by UK Parliament: "With continued uncertainty around the negotiations, it is particularly concerning how little information government has provided to businesses so they can prepare for any outcome. The government must urgently work with businesses -- time is fast running out."
Hillier was commenting after the official National Audit Office (NAO) issued a new report on the British border showing slow progress has been made on preparations.
"The NAO's latest work on the UK border shows the slow progress made on preparations. Infrastructure at our borders will not be in place in the event of a no-deal and there is a real danger that systems will not be ready," said Hilllier.
Britain is scheduled to leave the EU next March, with proposals for UK-EU trade to continue until the end of 2020 as part of an implementation period. So far no final deal has been reached, with some politicians fearing no deal with Brussels will be reached.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted she is confident a deal with the EU will be reached before Britain's exit from the bloc.
In its report Wednesday. the NAO says there are risks to Britain's border operations if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on March 29, 2019.
"Even with a withdrawal agreement, significant challenges lie ahead to ensure the UK border is fully functioning," said the NAO in its report.
It added: "Border management is fundamentally important to national security, effective trade, tourism, well-managed migration, healthy communities and the environment. Delivering an effective border after the UK leaves the EU is an enormous challenge, requiring significant coordination across government and with private sector organisations."
The report said government papers from July 2018 stated that it was already too late to ensure that all traders were properly prepared for "no deal" outcome.
Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, said Wednesday: "Government has openly accepted the border will be sub-optimal if there is no deal with the EU on 29 March 2019. It is not clear what sub-optimal means in practice, or how long this will last. But what is clear is that businesses and individuals who are reliant on the border running smoothly will pay the price."