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Faisal Islam @faisalislam
, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
NEW: Government circulated papers at Brexit meeting with 10 biz chiefs & key Cabinet mins on June 20, acknowledging a 5 year wait to develop customs systems... in turn told it would take a decade for a system suitable for small businesses in supply chains…
1. Meeting on June 20th chaired by Lidington, with Gove, Fox, Clark and Robbins present, and Diageo, retailers Tesco and Asos, manufacturers BMW, GE, GSK, logistics company UPS, ABP, BCC & EEF
2. Ministers present presented “thorough detailed” versions of both Customs Partnership and Max Fac, which built on work from consultants McKinsey and BCG.. acknowledged multi year wait for systems to make work
reason would take so much time is not the big multinationals - they might cope, at a cost, but all present convinced that small businesses in supply chains would not cope - would need a new system open to every supplier across the whole of Europe. Biz pointed to universal credit
Govt told “Max Fac” can only work if you know what goods on what truck and the driver a day or two ahead - facial recognition /numberplate recognition - trucks with one destination rather than 15 consignments etc. Max Fac lanes at existing borders are for big businesses
5. That wouldn’t work for just in time smaller suppliers - more than that - businesses at the meeting were told that they are expected to foot the bill Customs changes (that they don’t want, basically)
6. Concern about the Customs Partnership at the meeting though “a more attractive starting point” was “there is no replicable model, no software, no off the shelf system to buy - a World first” - govt has no track record of delivering this scale of system in suggested timeframe
7. NCP preferred to MF as its closer to current customs union, but at least some participants were asked before the meeting not to ask to stay in a customs union and only focus on the feasibility of the two options on table.
8. The idea of a hybrid or fusion between NCP and max Fac was enthusiastically discussed by Cabinet ministers present, though business reps present did not understand how that fundamentally altered their concerns about both models
9. Bigger concern of those present is that the entire meeting was about customs, less than half of what they calculate will cause frictions on the post Brexit border - ie regulatory alignment, rules of origin, and VAT not discussed.
10. Also surprise and concern that Eurotunnel not represented at these meetings - basically a road border with the EU that was intrinsically designed with total single market and customs union membership/alignment as a given.
takeaway: simply not credible that a functional new customs system can be readied for when currently needed at end 2020, and the Government acknowledged this in papers circulated to business and then handed back at end of meeting. Will Chequers acknowledge publicly? Can it not?
Other takeaway: how do the Government choose who to consult here? Why Tesco not Sainsbury? Why Diageo not Unilever? Why ports not Eurotunnel? Why not throw open to proper consultation?
Serious questions about the openness, transparency, effectiveness, competence of this process.
We have consultations on bees. We have consultations on straws. We have consultations on moving B roads. No open consultation on the most fundamental change to our trading system with thousands of different impacts up and down the country?
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