Lord Agnew to @CommonsTreasury says "I cannot give you a date" when the Northern Ireland border operating model will be published. Admits "I am worried about it" given sensitivities. #Brexit

@CommonsTreasury Adds 200 NI businesses have registered for the govt £200m Trader Support Service, out of 10,000 traders that need to be reached by "D-Day".

Reasonably confident they'll get rest signed up, but again admits worried. /2
@CommonsTreasury Explains delay in announcing TSS because govt was "agonising" over monopolising a service that should be provided by private sector. Admits, again "I am very worried about it." [Being ready] /3
Lord Agnew at @CommonsTreasury on #Brexit border hirings. HMRC estimated they need to hire 7,000 new staff by January.

Currently at 5,800 and working to be "battle ready" for Jan 1.

99% confident they'll all be trained/ready. /4
@CommonsTreasury Border Force also recruiting another 1000 which will be on track for July, with 670 by Jan 1...recruited and trained.

And vets (for export health certs). We're hearing "positive progress"...but need numbers from Defra.

A thread on vets here /5
@CommonsTreasury Now a Q on 'day old chicks', shellfish and fresh fish readiness "fish n chicks" in Whitehall...but Lord Agnew doesn't have specifics...says they're in the post.

BUT says XO committee had discussed whether French customs could be forced to prioritise these products/6.
@CommonsTreasury Now Customs Agents? Are there enough for those companies not used to doing customs declarations.

Lord Agnew worried about capacity in sector. Cits IPSOS mori survey, and now "reasonably confident" that they uprated their capacity to meet demand. @BIFA may have views on that?/7
@CommonsTreasury @BIFA Lord Agnew adds that prices are remaining static, which indicates to him there isn't a supply/demand issue.

Notes fragmented industry, but says this is a "plus" because it is easier to go from 10-20 people to 1,000-2,000 people. (Glass v half full there!) /8
@CommonsTreasury @BIFA SO Lord Agnew says that "technical enhancements" are bridging gap...says @LogisticsUKNews @BIFA are all less worried than before. /9
@CommonsTreasury @BIFA @LogisticsUKNews Adds that the Road Haulage Association @RHARichardB @RHADuncanB @RHARodMcKenzie whilst "entitled to make comments" are not as "integrally involved" as @LogisticsUKNews @BIFA and Lord Agnew would prefer to talk to these operators. /10
Lord Agnew admits the renamed "SmartFreight" app/portal is 'dumb'...so it is not connected to the Number Plate Recognition tech...at least for now.

(It's basically an "honesty box" as it was explained to me by industry insider. You say you're ready, tick the box. Give VPN)/11
That's your lot. You can watch back the whole thing here.



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More from @pmdfoster

13 Oct
NEW: Where EU chemicals Assoc boss Marco Mensink @MMens and UK's Assoc Simon Marsh @See_Chem_Bus warn of coming "double whammy" to chemicals industry from #Brexit and new EU rules - now accepting deal will be v thin. via @ft w @Michael_Pooler

@MMens @See_Chem_Bus @FT @Michael_Pooler Both bosses now seem to accept that a data-sharing deal to enable UK to build parallel REACH chemicals database won't happen - but still want decent Annex in FTA on chemicals to try and mitigate damage - details on dual registration regime here/2

@MMens @See_Chem_Bus @FT @Michael_Pooler The immediate issue is that UK companies will need a EU "only representative" for trade in EU (not clear that high % yet done this) which is worrying @MMens and others.../3
Read 6 tweets
12 Oct
NEW: @BorisJohnson has said he wants to to end the “pointless, snooty, and frankly vacuous” distinction between technical/academic education... we've been here before...so will it be different this time? 1/thread

@BorisJohnson First the speech itself (worth quick read) but an important statement of intent; sends signal (as insider tells me) that Augar Review is "very much live" - or rather resuscitated after @theresa_may
era /2

@BorisJohnson @theresa_may BUT as Sir Chris Husbands @Hallam_VC says the revealed preference of last 50 years is that kids want to do three-year degrees...the question is whether the govt can change the 'terms of trade' in the HE/FE marketplace. /3
Read 19 tweets
9 Oct
A third of businesses still believe the #Brexit transition period will be extended says @cabinetofficeuk perm sec - this has always been big issue with preps: however good they are, they must be communicated effectively to business /1

@cabinetofficeuk And the fact that a third of businesses still think there will be an extension just shows you how hard that is - some are just busy with #COVID19 others as Chisolm says just don't believe warnings any more after all the false starts/2
@cabinetofficeuk And as we've seen with trying to get industry to hire and train customs agents, the govt/whitehall can't operate in a vacuum.

No good just launching a £50m grant scheme without trying to understand industry views of risk & appetite to hire during #COVID19 times /3
Read 7 tweets
5 Oct
A worrying bellwether for 'Global Britain'? Analysis of Horizon2020 grants by @ben_osswald
@jochenpierk shows that UK business international collaborations via the program DOWN by nearly 50% - while other EU nations are UP - my latest via @ft /2

@ben_osswald @jochenpierk @FT You can read the whole paper here, but below is a key chart for what they found on business collaborations - UK had 15,900 international research partners in Europe in 2016...that figure had fallen to 8,300 by 2019 /2

@ben_osswald @jochenpierk @FT At the same time - see raw data table below - collaboration of the three major advanced EU economies (France, Germany, Italy) all went up by between a third and a quarter. /3
Read 8 tweets
2 Oct
So. End of another long #brexit trade negotiations week...which ended in more stalemate over fish and LPF/subsidies...but it is subsidies where it's really fundamentally stuck, it seems. And that's important, because the 'state aid' row is really a proxy #Brexit as a whole 1/
No surprises that we're still stuck at the "no breakthoughs, but no breakdown" equilibrium...but the meeting with @BorisJohnson and @vonderleyen will be critical. The UK have wanted to escalate beyond @MichelBarnier, the question is what they'll find now they've got there. /2
@BorisJohnson @vonderleyen @MichelBarnier In a nutshell this comes down to how many strings must come attached to a 'zero tariff, zero quota' Free Trade Agreement - the UK says the single market is going behind a customs barrier, so the EU really can't demand these kind of LPF strings./3
Read 20 tweets
30 Sep
Today in a leaked letter Lord Frost concedes that EU will not give UK preferential trade terms to UK cars...but that is not what @BorisJohnson
promised on 2019 election trail. So does that matter? 1/thread

@BorisJohnson First the letter (that was first reported by @faisalislam) which tl;dr says "we asked for preferential terms, the EU said no"....

This relates particularly to so-called 'rules of origin' - the need for a car to be 45% UK-made to get 0-tariff access to EU under an FTA/2
@BorisJohnson @faisalislam The problem, as @Petercampbell1 points out is that companies like Nissan and Toyota use parts from Japan and the EU won't let those count or "cross-cumulate" as UK-inputs....not that that should come as any surprise. /3
Read 13 tweets

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