EU VAT area and pre-commencement requirements

Part of Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 16th July 2018.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 6:15 pm, 16th July 2018

I completely agree with the right hon. Lady. The former Brexit Secretary seems to be arguing that because companies trade across borders that involve customs checks, we should rip up our customs-free borders. He is saying that because those trades take place, it is okay somehow to add costs to our trading process. Why on earth would we do that? Why on earth would we add burdens to businesses that do not face them at the moment? Why on earth would we make the process difficult and more costly for them? It is not that we think all trade will stop—of course it will not—but the point is that that trade will become more costly and burdensome, and our businesses and manufacturers will be at a disadvantage compared with their European neighbours and competitors. That is unfair on our manufacturers, which we in this House should be standing up for. I certainly believe in standing up for Yorkshire manufacturing.

The former Brexit Secretary also seemed to be arguing that, because we coped with Operation Stack before, let us have more delays again. Yes, we can cope, but Operation Stack cost businesses coping with those long delays a fortune.