I am delighted to respond to the right hon. Gentleman’s question. The Government are devoting huge energies, as the House will know, to Brexit preparations. The Prime Minister has stated that the Government’s preference is to leave with a deal, but, if necessary, they will leave without a deal as it is so vital that we get Brexit done and move the country forward. The last thing that businesses need is more uncertainty and delay. A key part of those preparations is to ensure that there is a functioning Customs, VAT and Excise regime on exit to put the legal underpinnings in place. HMRC has laid 56 regulations to date following last year’s Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 .
To support the latest bunch of statutory instruments, which were debated by this House yesterday, the Government published a third edition of the overarching impact assessment of the movement of goods if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This updates and builds on previous versions of the impact assessment, which were published in December 2018 and February 2018. The new version provides updates to cover the September 2019 regulations, including transitional and other arrangements for safety and security declaration requirements for the period after exit; further temporary Customs and Excise easements to extend the transitional arrangements after exit; further VAT data-gathering powers to specify the type of information that was collected from postal operators; and, finally, various technical amendments and transitional provisions.
As I have said, our preference is very much for a deal, but the Government continue to ensure that this country is ready for no deal and that the impact on business is minimised as far as possible, which is why we have introduced a series of easements for traders moving goods in the UK to take effect in a no-deal scenario. Those easements, for example, are planned to simplify radically import processes for EU goods, which means that the costs identified in this impact assessment will be mitigated for UK importers. Crucially, the Government are also working to boost the long-term potential of the economy so that the United Kingdom can seize the opportunities that exist for us outside the EU.