Brexit Border Checks Will Cost Taxpayers At Least £4.7 Billion, Report Reveals

<span class="copyright">Leon Neal via Getty Images</span>
Leon Neal via Getty Images

Post-Brexit border checks will end up costing taxpayers at least £4.7 billion, according to a damning report by the public spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office said the government had delayed the implementation of full import controls no fewer than five times since the UK finally quit the European Union.

And they said it was “still not clear” when the new arrangements will be in place, more than three years after the end of the post-Brexit transition period.

The NAO report said: “The three departments with primary responsibility for managing the border forecast that they will spend around £4.7 billion on the 13 most significant border-related programmes over their lifetimes.

“This cost primarily relates to putting in place the infrastructure and systems required to manage the border in the context of EU exit, and wider programmes to improve the performance of the border.”

But the report added: “It does not include the additional enduring operational cost of managing the border, such as additional staff.”

The report went on to say: “Repeated delays in implementing controls have meant ongoing uncertainty and an increase in risk, and the government and border stakeholders have also incurred unnecessary costs.

“This could have been avoided if the government had established a clearer vision of how the border should operate from the start, and had taken a more strategic and planned approach to implementation.”

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said: “More than three years after the end of the transition period, it is still not clear when full controls will be in place.

“The border strategy has ambitious plans to use technology and data to facilitate trade while managing risks.

“To achieve its objectives, government requires strong delivery and accountability – including a more realistic approach to digital transformation – together with effective monitoring to enable future improvements.”

It emerged last month that a new wave of Brexit border checks were set to send prices in the shops soaring.

Items entering the port of Dover and the Eurotunnel will now face more red tape just to get into the country, ramping up the overall price to import goods from the EU.