Is HMRC right about the cost of Max- Fac customs clearance, given it seems so many of their estimates are wrong?
HMRC have said that the cost of Customs clearance declarations that this system will require will amount to maybe £20bn a year for 200 million customs clearances.
Let’s for a moment assume, as they do, that the number of clearances will not reduce (which they seem to have ignored - oddly) that means the cost will be £100 a clearance. That is made up of an assumed £32.50 charge on each side of the import or export plus, I guess, a broadly similar cost to business to actually complete the forms.
So the rational question to ask is whether it might cost £35.00 for business to complete a customs declaration. Even if large parts of this could be automated the whole process will take time, effort, management, communication, systems, checks, audits and delivery so that the right person has the right form on the right consignment at the right time. Of course costs will vary. But allowing for overheads and on costs of employment £35 seems entirely fair for business.
In which case it seems fair for processing too. Twice over, of course.
So my gut reaction is that HMRC may well be in the right area with this one.
Now, how will Rees-Mogg react to this one? Fake news, I guess.