Treasury committee flags ‘collapse of confidence’ in UK’s new customs service

Confidence in a new UK customs declaration service (CDS) “collapsed” in a two-month period to the end of January, but it is critically important that the project is delivered successfully and on time now that the government has decided that the UK will leave the EU Customs Union, a senior member of Parliament has warned.

Andrew Tyrie MP, chair of the House of Commons Treasury Committee, said in a March 31 release that the CDS, which HM Revenue & Customs is developing to replace the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service and to implement the new Union Customs Code, was given a green rating in November 2016, meaning it was successful and on time. “On 31 January 2017, it was given an amber/red rating, meaning it was ‘in doubt,’ with ‘major risks,’ and needing ‘urgent action’,” he said.

“Customs is at the heart of the Brexit debate. It is part of the essential plumbing for international trade, and ensuring it continues to function smoothly post-Brexit has to be a priority for the government,” Tyrie added …

HMRC’s assessment [on February 21] was that “the CDS delivery schedule is feasible and that current risks and issues are resolvable at this stage.”

Read more: My news story for Tax Analysts, April 1 (paywall)