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News | Published September 20 2018

Sub-Committee for EU External Affairs publish Chequers report

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee have today officially published their report into Theresa May’s Chequers blueprint for the UK’s exit from the EU. The findings confirmed that in a Chequers style “deal” scenario, those importing to the UK could face costs of around £700 million each year, in comparison with the potential £18 billion costs that would face traders in a “no deal” situation.

May stated in the 2017/18 edition of The Parliamentary Review that leaving the EU was “setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation.” The findings, that suggest a Facilitated Customs Agreement would lead to lower costs for UK traders in comparison to those presented by a “no deal” agreement, should prove positive in a week where the plan has received criticism from former colleagues.

Sub-Committee for EU External Affairs publish Chequers report
  • The cabinet laid down the Chequers proposal in July 2018
  • The plan has recently come in for criticism, with Brexit secretary Dominic Raab suggesting the plan was "not perfect."

The Sub-Committee state that a “no deal” arrangement, whereby the UK trade with the EU on WTO terms, would be expensive and an added disruption for UK businesses. The report also raised doubts about the feasibility of some of the plans set out in the Chequers proposal, including who would take responsibility for ensuring that goods travelling back and forth are monitored effectively. Likewise, the report argued that the remuneration strategy that is laid out in the Facilitated Customs Agreement had not been tested.

Baroness Verma, former Conservative MP and Chair of the committee, said “With only six months to go until Brexit the clock really is ticking on a mutually acceptable customs agreement.”

Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, also stressed “There is a trade-off between keeping the flow moving, raising revenues, and security. We will not compromise on security, but particularly in a place such as Dover, where you have to keep flow moving very quickly or you end up with all sorts of problems, there may be a trade-off between keeping the flow going and revenue protection.”

May yesterday stated that Brexit was “uniquely complex” and will be taking into account the findings of the report as she plans for a potential summit with EU leaders in November.