HMRC Impact Analysis: Customs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:38 pm on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 1:38 pm, 8th October 2019

Perhaps I can help the Minister fill in some of the gaps in the statement. The Government’s own assessment shows that their no-deal Brexit policy will introduce

“significant ongoing administrative costs impacting on UK and EU businesses of all sectors.”

It is an avalanche of paperwork descending on British businesses in the form of import, export, safety and security declarations. The burden will cost our business sector an annual £15 billion in administrative costs, and that does not even include the costs of complying with the new VAT procedures, which will hit our vital service companies—all this to pursue the hardest possible Tory no-deal Brexit.

We have heard the Prime Minister’s previous crude dismissal of British business. Now we are seeing his words become Government policy. Does the Minister not understand that this only compounds the uncertainty brought about by this Government’s failure to secure a deal that protects the UK economy? A senior No. 10 source, who I most believe to be the Prime Minister’s adviser—well, I say “adviser”—Dominic Cummings, said:

“We’ll either leave with no deal on 31 October or there will be an election and then we will leave with no deal”,

and that everything do with the duty of sincere co-operation that we have with the EU partners

“will be in the toilet”.

Does the Minister agree with the priorities set out by No. 10 as a result of that statement? Does he also challenge the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which said today that this would push UK debt to its highest level since the 1960s, soaring to 90% of national income?

The reckless incompetence of this Government just knows no bounds, does it? At a moment of national crisis, this Government pose a threat to their own people and the economy they rely upon. Has the Minister any idea of the scale of the destruction of confidence in the British economy that this Government’s stated policy is bringing about?