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Haulage and logistics bosses demand 'urgent meeting' with ministers

Haulage and logistics bosses demand ‘urgent meeting’ with ministers over ‘significant gaps’ in UK border plans for end of Brexit transition period that risk ‘severe’ disruption to supply chain

  • Eight logistics firms warn Britain could face ‘severe’ disruption to supply chains 
  • Companies are urging Government to step up their Brexit border preparations
  • Fears over ‘significant gaps’ in preparations for managing borders from January 
  • Claims are made in open letter to Michael Gove and Chancellor Rishi Sunak 

Eight logistics firms have warned that Britain could face ‘severe’ disruption to supply chains next year unless Brexit border preparations are stepped up. 

Leading companies and lobby groups told how there were ‘significant gaps’ in the preparations for managing the borders from January if there is no trade deal.

The claims were made by organisations including the Road Haulage Association in an open letter to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and Chancellor Rishi Sunak. 

Freight lorries queue to leave the Port of Dover in Kent after arriving by ferry on March 31

They requested a meeting about technological and infrastructure concerns, according to a copy of the letter seen by the Financial Times. 

The letter said: ‘Our concern is so strong that we have collectively agreed to request an urgent roundtable meeting with yourself, the chancellor of the exchequer and secretary of state for transport [Grant Shapps].’

‘We are asking you to take seriously our concerns and listen to the detail during this roundtable so that we can collectively help government manage through this enormous challenge.’

RHA boss Richard Burnett said: ‘It is patently clear that, on the political front at least, there is a complete lack of appreciation of the enormity of, in effect, constructing a new supply chain after 50 years of completely free trade with the EU.’ 

Freight lorries queue to leave Dover to deliver goods across the UK in lockdown on March 31

It comes as a new report claimed secrecy about the Government’s Brexit negotiating objectives hindered preparations for the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The efforts also took a heavy toll on the Civil Service with a high turnover among senior staff, according to the study by the National Audit Office (NAO).

It found there were more than 22,000 workers deployed across Whitehall departments on the preparations for Brexit which cost £4.4billion.

The study aimed to examine the lessons to be learned from the Government’s attempts to ready the country for Brexit following the 2016 Leave referendum result. 

Lorries queue on the A20 in Kent as ferry services at Dover are hit by storms on January 14

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Christine Jardine said the NAO report was evidence the Tories had made a ‘dog’s dinner’ of Britain’s divorce from Europe.

‘How Boris Johnson ever thought he could get a deal by the end of July with the chaos behind the scenes in Whitehall is beyond me,’ said the MP.

‘Even he must realise the dog’s dinner he has made of Brexit.’

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said ministers must ensure such mistakes are not repeated. 

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