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UK will throw open Britain’s borders under no-deal Brexit

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Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May
WPA Pool/Getty

  • The government would throw open Britain’s borders to
    all but high-risk goods from March next year under a no-deal
    Brexit, according to reports.
  • The extraordinary arrangement would risk flooding the
    UK with potentially dangerous goods and dramatically increase
    the risk of large amounts of fraudulent goods entering the
    country.
  • Thousands of British people who live in work in Europe
    could also lose access to their pensions overnight under a
    no-deal scenario.
  • The news comes as Brexit secretary Dominic Raab
    publishes the first batch of no-deal contingency plans on
    Thursday, who will say the measures are “a sensible, measured,
    and proportionate approach.”

LONDON — The government would “unilaterally” throw open Britain’s
borders to all but high-risk goods from March next year under a
no-deal Brexit in a bid to avoid chaos at Britain’s ports,
according to a report.

The government, which would face a massive increase in customs
checks if it failed to secure a deal with Brussels, would set up
new “technical options” which would “minimise risk” at the
borders and digitally collect VAT, introducing spot checks on
some goods but waving most through,
the Sun reported
.

The extraordinary arrangement would risk flooding the UK with
potentially dangerous goods and dramatically increase the risk of
large amounts of fraudulent goods entering the country.

The government would not demand Brussels to reciprocate the deal,
meaning UK firms would face huge new tariff and non-tariff
barriers on goods being exported to Europe which could run many
out of business.

Large numbers of British people who live in work in Europe
could also lose access to their pensions under a no-deal
scenario, the Sun reported.

British citizens who have worked in EU countries and built up
pension funds abroad which are then paid into a UK bank
account are said to be particularly at risk.

Brussels pensions rules mean that funds that cross borders can
only be paid into EU-registered bank accounts. 

That means expats and former expats with British bank accounts
risk having their payments cut off when the UK becomes a
third country in March next year.

‘Sensible, measured, and proportionate’


Dominic Raab
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab
Jack Taylor/Getty

The news comes as Brexit secretary Dominic Raab publishes the
first batch of no-deal contingency plans on Thursday.

He will say in a speech that the measures are “a sensible,
measured, and proportionate approach to minimising the impact of
no deal on British firms, citizens, charities and public bodies,”
and claim “a duty, as a responsible government, to plan for every
eventuality.”

The UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019, and a number of
issues in talks remain unresolved, meaning the prospect of both
sides failing to reach a divorce agreement has increased
significantly.

But Labour’s Brexit secretary Keir Starmer warned that failure to
secure a deal would represent “a complete failure” to negotiate
on the government’s part.

“If the publication of these documents is just a crude attempt by
Ministers to dress up the severe consequences of a no deal Brexit
as somehow acceptable, the whole exercise will be pointless,” he
said in a statement.

“A no deal Brexit would be a complete failure by the Government
to negotiate for Britain. These documents should not distract us
from that.

“No deal would be catastrophic for people’s jobs, the economy,
and for the border in Northern Ireland.

“It is irresponsible for anyone to casualise no deal,” he said.

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