Brexit hits UK firms with "increased costs, paperwork & border delays" says UK Public Accounts Committee

UK firms have been hit by "increased costs, paperwork and border delays" as a result of Brexit, according to a report by the House of Commons spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The report said it "was clear" that leaving the EU was having an impact on UK trade volumes, and warned things could worsen this year as new import controls come in, the BBC reports, quoting PAC Meg Hillier.

"One of the great promises of Brexit was freeing British businesses to give them the headroom to maximise their productivity and contribution to the economy - even more desperately needed now on the long road to recovery from the pandemic.Yet the only detectable impact so far is increased costs, paperwork and border delays."

The report comes as Jacob Rees-Mogg has been appointed minister for Brexit opportunities as part of a cabinet reshuffle. The prominent Leave campaigner will look at which EU rules may be scrapped now the UK has left the bloc.

In its report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was concerned about what will happen when passenger traffic across the UK border returns to normal levels as the pandemic subsides, describing government plans to create the most effective border in the world by 2025 as "optimistic, given where things stand today".

The report says trade volumes have been suppressed by the impact of Covid-19, and wider global pressures in supply chains, since the UK left the EU customs union and single market.

But it is clear, the report adds, that leaving the EU also had an impact by increasing the bureaucratic burden on businesses.

The report says there is potential for further disruption during the course of this year as more people start travelling again, and passenger volumes at key ports like Dover increase.

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