Government’s no-deal Brexit advice papers equivalent of “duck and cover” nuclear warnings, says EU shipping expert

Published on: 24th August 2018

Advice on how to react to a Hard Brexit as reassuring as nuclear attack advice to shelter under a table, says ParcelHero.

Parcel delivery expert ParcelHero says today’s Government Technical Notices, advising what steps should be taken in the event of a no-deal Brexit, are as reassuring as the 1980 Protect and Survive booklet, outlining how to survive a nuclear attack by sheltering under a table.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks, commented: “If the government thought its documents advising businesses and individuals how to plan for leaving the EU without a deal would reassure people, it is mistaken.

The advice that people and businesses shipping items to the EU should ‘engage the services of a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to help, or alternatively secure the appropriate software and authorisations’, is reminiscent of government advice to ‘use tables if they are large enough to provide you all with shelter’, from the 1980 Protect and Survive government booklet.

The European Commission recently warned that increased border controls will mean transport between the UK and EU will be ‘severely impacted’, with the possibility of ‘significant delays’. The Notice’s assertion that the government will have stockpiled six weeks’ worth of medical supplies to cope with border disruption simply creates more worries than it calms. If that’s the level of delays anticipated for urgent medicines, what will the situation be like for normal goods?”

The Brexit secretary introduced the new Technical Notices by saying: “There are risks here, but let’s not have the risks blown out of proportion.”

David retorted: ‘Quite frankly the Technical Paper on Trade’s advice that businesses should ‘put steps in place to renegotiate commercial terms to reflect any changes in customs and excise procedures, and any tariffs that may apply to UK-EU trade’, is the equivalent of Protect and Survive’s introduction, which reads: ‘The dangers which you and your family will face in this situation can be reduced if you do as this booklet describes.’

David concludes: ‘Just like the threat of a nuclear attack, we very much hope that a no-deal Brexit is a worst-case scenario never that actually happens. Anyone planning to use a parcel courier to ship to the EU in the future must trust that the threat of a hard Brexit never actually comes true, because British exporters know ducking under a table won’t help them survive the extra duties, red tape and delays on their exports to the EU.’


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