The government’s answer to Brexit chaos is that it will give up collecting taxes owing

Posted on

The government has now suggested how it will respond to the suggestion that Dover will cease to function in the case of a No Deal Brexit. According to the FT:

The UK government will instruct officials to relax efforts to collect border taxes if Britain leaves the EU without a withdrawal deal, a junior minister told peers on Thursday.

Speaking to a House of Lords subcommittee, Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, said the government knew it would have to balance security concerns, revenue expectations and the pressure to keep goods flowing across borders.

“We will not compromise on security,” Mr Stride said. “But there will, perhaps particularly in the case of a place like Dover, where you have to keep flow moving very quickly or you have all sorts of problems, there will be a trade off between keeping the flow going and revenue protection.”

He added: “The priority will be to keep flow moving”.

This is is a quite extraordinary statement. First, it acknowledges that there will be a break down in law and order.

Second, it acknowledges that the resultin criminality will be permitted.

Third, it admits that an unfair playing field, biased against honest domestic businesses, will be created as importers not paying VAT will be able to undermine them.

Fourth, it ignores that the problems will not just be on imports; there will also (and glaringly obviously) be an issue on exports, where the issue will be just as significant, if not more so as every driver and vehicle will need to be checked for the right paperwork as well as the load, with payment being required.

Fifth, with no timescale being given maybe Mr Stride would like to give an estimate of this uncontested proposal? None has been seen. He might also like to consider why it is discriminatory for Dover.

But most of all, shouldn’t publicity be given to the fact that the government is now admitting that no deal Brexit now means a breakdown in the machinery of government? When a government realises the machinery of tax will no longer function one of its most basic functions has failed. And that is what Mel Strife has admitted will happen. And, apparently, we now think that a price worth paying fir the dogmatic stupidity of Brexit.

I despair.