Customs Legislation and Amendments: Impact Analysis - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:40 pm on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip) 4:40 pm, 8th October 2019

I completely endorse the noble Lord’s sentiment. It is very much the Government’s policy to strike a deal and I, like others in the Government, very much hope that will be successful. The Government’s efforts are very much focused on that objective.

Let me strike at the heart of the question. The noble Lord started by saying that this report articulates what will happen, but actually it articulates what may happen under very strict circumstances. I pay tribute to the officials who prepared such a detailed report for its transparency and integrity. The report in no way dodges or mitigates for several areas in which performance may be considerably better than the headline figures.

First, there are areas in which easement by British government policy will help improve performance. There are three of those easements: the delay in the submission of customs declarations, which we discussed last night; a period of grace to get a guarantee in place to cover additional duties; and the phasing-in of pre-arrival requirements for the entry summary declarations. Secondly, we do not know what the EU will do to improve the situation and, thirdly, the behaviour of importers may introduce new efficiencies. With those in mind, I am hopeful that the headline figures may prove higher than those if a no-deal Brexit were ever to occur.