The Road Haulage Association has accused the government of leaving logistics and road transport operators to “carry the can” and says its promises that businesses will be ready as just “a whitewash” with just 70 days to go until the end of the Brexit Transition Period.
Yesterday the Cabinet Office published a briefing entitled ‘Reasonable Worst Case Scenario for borders at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020’ which predicted that that 40% to 70% of trucks travelling to the EU might not be ready for new border controls.
Later Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, told the House of Commons: “Our survey evidence indicates that while 78% of businesses have taken steps, just 24% believe that they are fully ready.
“Indeed, 43% of businesses actually believe the transition period will be extended, even though the deadline for any extension has now long passed and the date that we leave the Single Market and the Customs Union is fixed in law and supported across this House.
“The consequences of a lack of business preparedness will be not just economic opportunities missed for those companies who don’t prepare but, potentially, much wider disruption.”
In response RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: :“Mr Gove stresses that it’s essential that traders act now to get ready for new the formalities. We know for a fact that they are only too keen to be ready but how on earth can they prepare when there is still no clarity as to what they need to do?
“Traders need 50,000 more customs intermediaries to handle the mountain of new paperwork after transition but Government support to recruit and train those extra people is woefully inadequate, particularly as firms are trying to recover from Covid-19.
“Government’s promises that the UK will be ready for business on 1 January are just a whitewash, and right now it appears that traders and haulage operators are being left to carry the can.”