Public Accounts Committee

Brexit and the borders inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 8 December 2017. Government response published 1 March 2018.

Report and response published

Scope of the inquiry

With the UK scheduled to leave the European Union in March 2019, arrangements around the enforcement of the UK border may change. This will include people entering and exiting the country at ports and airports. It will also affect the handling of imports and exports.

There are currently more than 270 recognised crossing points on the UK border, from the biggest airports down to local marinas. In 2016, more than 271 million people crossed the border by air, with an additional 22 million crossing by sea and 21 million by train. Meanwhile over 95% of freight—some 472 million tonnes—arrives at the UK border by sea each year. HM Revenue and Customs collects about £34 billion in VAT and customs duties at the border each year.

Exactly how these arrangements will change once the UK has left the European Union is not certain. The National Audit Office estimates that the number of decisions about permitting people or goods to cross the border could increase by 230% and 360% respectively. The UK government will also have to consider which international arrangements it wishes to comply with, and be prepared for any changes to these

The Public Accounts Committee will hear evidence from the Home Office, UK Border Force, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ask about how Government is preparing for any changes to border operations, and how well Whitehall is working together to ensure smooth implementation of new arrangements.


Read all transcripts, written evidence and other material related to the inquiry on Brexit and the borders.


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