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Politics

These reports by MPs offer very different perspectives on how Brexit is going

The government’s Benefits of Brexit report and the Public Accounts Committee’s EU Exit: UK Border post transition study offer contrasting evaluations.

MPs have produced a list of all the problems caused by Brexit, including increased costs, paperwork and border delays.

The report, released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, highlights the problems Brexit has caused and suggests that “it was clear” leaving the EU was having an impact on UK trade volumes.

Interestingly, the government has only recently published a report hailing all the successes the country has seen since leaving the EU. The Benefits of Brexit document sets out “how the UK is capitalising on the benefits of Brexit and how the government will use its new freedoms to transform the UK into the best regulated economy in the world.”

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Here’s a run through of some of the – quite opposing – points in each.

Benefits of Brexit: Ended free movement and taken back control of our borders.

The government says that Brexit has allowed for the introduction of “a points-based immigration system, focused on skilled workers and the best global talent, with skills and salary thresholds and an English language requirement.”

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The PAC: The new border arrangements haven’t yet been tested and may cause problems when the EU introduces requirements for biometric passport checks.

The PAC says that Brexit has meant “there is a risk that it could take longer to process travellers from the UK to the EU when the EU introduces a new checking system”. This could cause delays, particularly for lorry drivers in Dover.

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Benefits of Brexit: Committed £180million to modernise import and export controls.

The government says that this money will go towards making the approach more streamlined by creating a Single Trade Window. 

The PAC: New controls in place over the movement of goods from the UK to the EU have created additional costs for businesses and affected international trade flows

The PAC said that it is clear that businesses in the UK face additional administration and cost when trading with the EU as a result of Brexit. This includes factors like having to pay an intermediary to help them complete customs declarations.

Benefits of Brexit: Blue passports

The government says that Brexit has allowed passports to be returned to their “iconic” blue colour, and be “updated to the most technologically-advanced and secure ever”. This measure is thought to contribute towards keeping borders secure and preventing the use of fraudulent passports.

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The PAC: Government’s ambition to have the “world’s most effective border by2025” relies on cross-government digital programmes, in which it does not havea good track record

In its report the PAC also suggested “the new border arrangements have yet to be tested with the normal passenger volumes and may be further challenged when the EU introduces requirements for biometric passport checks.” 

Benefits of Brexit: Businesses can now use imperial measurements

The government said that Brexit has allowed for a review on the EU ban on imperial markings and sales. In the report it suggests: “This will give businesses and consumers more choice over the measurements they use. Imperial units like pounds and ounces are widely valued in the UK and are a core part of many people’s British identity.”

The PAC: Businesses have faced challenges operating under the Northern Ireland Protocol which need to be resolved.

The PAC said that Both the UK and EU have recognised that there are issues with the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Its report states: “The Cabinet Office described the results of the protocol as being both ‘very concerning’ and causing a ‘considerable diversion of trade.’”

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