Michael Gove insists ‘all systems’ will be in place to ensure secure border at end of Brexit transition period

Michael Gove has pledged that “all systems” will be in place by the end of the Brexit transition period to ensure there is a fully operational border.

The Cabinet minister said the £705 million of new measures announced at the weekend would ensure Britain has “the world’s most effective border”.

Britain will leave the EU customs union and single market at the end of the year “regardless” of the progress in negotiations, he added.

He said: “It is the case that the GVMS (Goods Vehicle Movement Service) is going to be in place, as all systems are, so that we can have a fully operational border and it is of course the case that the additional infrastructure of the £705 million we’ve announced will ensure that it is in place on time.

“That additional infrastructure is there specifically in order to ensure that when vehicles arrive in Calais that they have passed through all the necessary checks and then they can proceed smoothly to market.”

Michael Gove insisted a fully operational border would be in place (PA)

It comes as sources said an extra 400 million customs declarations could have to be issued a year under new post-Brexit border controls.

Export/import declarations will cost UK companies £32 each, it has been reported.

The Government has unveiled new border controls for when strict post-Brexit customs checks come into force.

They include 500 new Border Force officers, £235 million for staffing and IT systems, and £470 million for port and inland infrastructure to ensure compliance with new customs procedures and controls.

According to the Guardian, there could be “10 to 12” new Brexit border customs and controls sites across the country, with five to be in Kent by January 1 – when the UK officially leaves the EU customs union and single market.

Michael Gove said there are no plans for a post-Brexit lorry park in Dover (PA)

The package comes ahead of a public information campaign in which guidance will be given to traders and hauliers explaining what they may need to do to prepare for the end of the transition period.

Mr Gove said “there is no danger of lost tariffs” but that the process will be rolled out in stages up to 2025.

But he insisted there are “no plans” for a lorry park in Dover to cope with a backlog in hauliers.

The Department for Transport has reportedly purchased a 27-acre site in Ashford to build a new customs clearance centre and park for HGVs, with work expected to begin this week.

Mr Gove told MPs on Monday: “From January 1 2021 we will embark on the next chapter in our history as a fully independent United Kingdom.

“With control of our economy we can continue to put in place the right measures for Covid recovery. With control over the money we sent to Brussels we can spend it on our priorities, investing in the NHS, spreading opportunity more equally across the UK and strengthening our union.”

“The actions we’re taking today are an important step towards readiness for the new opportunities that Brexit can bring. It is time for our new start, time for us to embrace a new global destiny,” he added.

Labour frontbencher Rachel Reeves said a leaked letter from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to the Treasury warning of gridlock at UK ports, smuggling from the EU, and a legal challenge at the World Trade Organisation, “presents a picture of chaos”.

Ms Reeves told MPs: “The best way to help all businesses to prepare is of course to agree a deal with the European Union on the terms we were told to expect – that means no fees, charges, tariffs or quantitative restrictions across all sectors.

“It does not mean, as we had in the statement today, customs, physical checks, export declarations, a commodity code, economic operator restrictions and identification and it certainly doesn’t mean a living document with guidance that changes day by day.”


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