The Public Accounts Committee has expressed concerns that the Department for Transport (DfT) won’t be prepared if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal.
In the latest report that investigates the government’s preparations for Brexit – scheduled for 29 March 2019 – the Public Accounts Committee is concerned about just how well the government is prepared.
It is a chastening time for the government; after being found in contempt of Parliament, this investigation into the DfT’s preparations contains the same results as reports on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), border preparations and customs.
In particular, the Public Accounts Committee expressed concerns surrounding “the lack of detailed information provided to businesses to help them prepare and the secrecy surrounding discussions through the use of non-disclosure agreements,” which, they say, “is hampering businesses’ ability to plan.”
The report reveals that the DfT still has an awful lot of work to do before the official Brexit date; the Public Accounts Committee acknowledged that it isn’t easy for the Department, who has to prepare for all Brexit scenarios.
But they are expected to be open and honest about the challenges that are ahead, and work with businesses so they can get ready for these.
With less than four months until the end of March, the DfT already faces a battle to pass legislation, which will be subject to scrutiny before it can be passed.
All of this is in an ambitious timescale and as such, the Public Accounts Committee believes a challenging workload is in store for the DfT during the transition period.
Meg Hillier, Chair of the Committee, said the Department’s plans are “worryingly under-developed.”
“The future of road, rail, maritime and air access to Europe after Brexit remains unclear and the Department for Transport has a critical role in ensuring the UK is prepared.
“With so little time remaining, there is still much to do. The risks associated with no-deal are severe, yet plans for avoiding disruption around major ports in particular are worryingly under-developed.”