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 Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1:38 pm, 8th October 2019

This is a long document at some 45 pages or so, but I would have hoped that the right hon. Gentleman could have made it to page 9. He claims that the cost to British business will be £15 billion, but it says perfectly clearly at the bottom of page 9:

“The latest…estimate for the annual administrative burden…is £7.5 billion (updated to reflect 2017 data)”.

I am in no sense happy about that—[Interruption.] I am just correcting the record. The right hon. Gentleman said £15 billion, when in fact the figure is £7.5 billion. That figure is, of course, prior to any mitigations that might be put in place by the Government.

Let me turn to the right hon. Gentleman’s other concerns. He criticised the Government for, as he puts it, failing to secure a deal. All his party had to do was support the perfectly sensible series of deals that have been put before this Parliament, and it would have a deal.

I am not going to comment on unsourced speculation of the kind mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman. Let me just remind the House that when this Government’s predecessor came into office in 2010, debt was at a peacetime high thanks to the previous Labour Government. The deficit was at almost 10% and, interestingly, inequality under the Labour Government was significantly higher than it is today.