Business, Freight News, Logistics, Road

Brexit: the time for talking is over, say industry groups

[ November 12, 2020   //   ]

Logistics UK says it is “incredulous” that the government has announced a Business Task Force at such a late stage in the process. With only 34 working days remaining until the end of the Brexit transition period business needs direction and decisions by government, “not another set of meetings,” said chief executive David Wells. “With information still needed from government and decisions required on GB-NI trade, this feels like nothing more than a smokescreen to cover up the government’s lack of focus on the issues which will hit the UK hard come 1 January 2021.”

Wells added: “Logistics businesses have been engaging closely with government since the election last December to clarify the supply chain issues which will ultimately affect us all. After a year of raising our concerns with government, this new task force feels like nothing more than a diversionary tactic to conceal the administration’s failure to grasp the issues which we and our members have been raising with them for nearly 12 months.  Logistics businesses remain committed to making Brexit work for the good of the nation, but at this late stage needs government to face up to the complexity of the challenges our sector faces to keep Britain trading from the new year.”

The previous evening, Road Haulage Association managing director of policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie slammed the lack of preparedness on customs. He told the Newsnight programme: “How is it possible that a government that realises we are exiting the European Union and is working on a free trade agreement is not capable of organising an effective system for a new customs and border arrangement, which we haven’t had to do for more than forty years? We’ve been telling them literally for years ‘you need to get a move on’, and now, with less than… about thirty working days to go till this moment, they’re suddenly hitting the accelerator? It’s been chaotic, it’s been frankly pathetic, and the information that’s been provided to businesses is woefully inadequate”.

He said that there were still holes in the Border Operating Model and IT systems were clearly not fit for purpose.

Many Irish hauliers had no faith in the UK Government’s Trader Support Service that is due to manage traffic to and from Northern Ireland, he added.