The National Audit Office has produced a report which –
- sets out the background to preparations for the end of the transition period and government’s planning assumptions.
- reports on progress with implementing the arrangements required to manage Great Britain’s border from 1 January.
- reports on progress with implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol for 1 January.
- reports on progress with implementing the arrangements required to manage the GB border from 1 July 2021. In this part it also considers some longer-term issues relevant to the management of the border.
It says that it is very unlikely that all traders, industry and third parties will be ready for the end of the transition period, particularly if the EU implements its stated intention of introducing full controls at its border from 1 January. There is a risk that widespread disruption could ensue at a time when government and businesses continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19. However, despite the funding being committed by government, 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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