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The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) warned that government Brexit plans were a “shambles” today following a National Audit Office report on the possibilities of “No Deal” with the European Union.

The PCS which represents UK Border Force staff who deal with Customs and people wishing to enter the UK, is extremely concerned at the lack of planning and attention being shown by Ministers to the practicalities of leaving the EU on March 29th next year.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The NAO report shows that Theresa May is making a shambles of Brexit.

“Our members tell us that there has been a complete lack of planning for a “no deal” Brexit or any kind of Brexit that involves any change to our relationship with the EU. Ministers knew they would have 2 years when they triggered Article 50 to put plans in place and deal with the practicalities of Brexit. They have totally failed on that front.

“Under our current relationship with the EU, promises made by Theresa May about ending free movement on March 29th cannot be carried out.

“Promises made by Theresa May about ending free movement after Brexit cannot be carried out without hiring more border staff to check passports which the government has failed to do. Airport E-gates for EU citizens will continue to be used after March 29th.

“We need more border staff as we are already stretched under the current arrangements with the EU.

“Instead of dealing with the practicalities of Brexit and hiring more staff, the government has put in place a leave ban from March to the end of April – to the detriment of border staff. Why should our members and the public at large pay the price for Theresa May’s incompetence?

“The government kept saying there would be a limited impact on the border. It was obvious following the referendum vote and the conversations our union has had with government that there would have to be changes at the border.”


Electronic gates at airports are solely designed for EU citizens to go through. They cannot be used unless free movement rules continue to apply.

Customs checks at airports not being done as there are not enough staff. Staff are being diverted from Customs to check passports. The current system is massively stretched with airports at “breaking point.”

Customs checks at sea ports – a small percentage are being done. 90pc of our freight comes from the EU.

If we do not have a customs arrangement with the EU after March 29th, then we will not have the staff to carry out 100 pc checks that would be required. This will lead to potentially billions of pounds in lost revenue to the treasury.



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