Scope of the inquiry
A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) in October 2018 found that the additional resources required to operate the border, including the necessary infrastructure, may not be ready by March 2019.
The NAO report underlines the importance of effectively managing the border to the UK’s national security, and notes the scale of the task ahead for the Government within a relative short time frame.
On 5 November, the Committee questioned officials from the Border Planning Group (BPG) and the Home Office about their progress in establishing the required IT systems, staffing levels, and customs declarations necessary both in case of an agreement or a ‘no-deal’ scenario. Following the hearing, the Committee wrote to the BPG and the Home Office to express concern about the overall level of engagement with local stakeholders, and the availability of critical systems in preparations for a ‘no-deal’ exit.
This evidence session will provide an opportunity for Members to challenge officials from the DfT and Defra about the preparedness of the UK border for exiting the EU. Members will also use this progress review to follow-up on Defra’s recent response to the Committee’s recommendations. Furthermore, Members may wish to ask about the Departments’ engagement with the Department of Health and Social Care about the steady flow of medical supplies in a ‘no-deal’ scenario.