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MPs slam HMRC's 'deeply worrying' lack of post-Brexit customs system

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Re: We're fecked.

B-Day

Is that what we're calling it now? Buggered Day?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We're fecked.

"They have, it seems, finally learned at least some of the lessons."

Not really. Most of the staff at RCDTS (the "pseudo civil service") are either ex-Capgemini/Fujitsu or day rate IR35-dodgers. It's the same people with none of the financial controls.

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Re: We're fecked.

@AC

+1 for 'quondam' - and an extra one if you can get 'erstwhile' in to a reply.

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Re: We're fecked.

Is that what we're calling it now? Buggered Day?

It's when our economy gets washed down the B-Day.

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Re: We're fecked.

Yes, the lorry park formerly known as South-East Kent will be pretty jammed if things proceed as unplanned

Once we brick up the tunnel why would they need to queue up in Kent ?

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Unhappy

"Is that what we're calling it now? Buggered Day?"

It may not be what it's called.

But it's certainly looking like that will be the outcome.

If I downed a load of anti-depressants I might just about think that yes there is enough time to design, develop, test, re-work and roll out a new system (and all the interfaces to all the other systems it has to interface to) in the time allowed. It will also be flexible enough to allow on the fly updating of the system (by authorized personnel only of course) by updating various database entries in the configuration system, and one of the configurations pre configured into the system will be a close(ish) match to what is finally needed from day one.

However with that many pills inside of me I'd a) Be close to needing my stomach pumped and b) Actually think Brexit was a good idea to start with IOW I'd be tripping off my tits.

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Unhappy

"It's when our economy gets washed down the B-Day."

I think HMG is seeking to have that renamed "foot bath."

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You just have to take on look at David Davis puffy, aging and tired face to realise that we are in excellent hands post Brexit...

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I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, following the route pioneered by David Cameron.

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Unhappy

"I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, "

Which is actually pretty bad news as he seemed the only IT literate Conservative with an interest in protecting UK citizens privacy.

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Re: "I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, "

"I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, "

Which is actually pretty bad news as he seemed the only IT literate Conservative with an interest in protecting UK citizens privacy.

Until he got a ministers' job and then suddenly he couldn't distance himself from that cause fast enough, sadly.

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Re: "I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, "

Which is actually pretty bad news as he seemed the only IT literate Conservative with an interest in protecting UK citizens privacy.

I always thought that was odd, since otherwise he is pretty right-wing.

Nowadays I understand - his main interest was in protecting his own ego.

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Re: "I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, "

@ smudge

"Which is actually pretty bad news as he seemed the only IT literate Conservative with an interest in protecting UK citizens privacy.

I always thought that was odd, since otherwise he is pretty right-wing."

I am going to need you to marry those two statements in some way. What is wrong with him being right wing and the rest of that comment?

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I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, following the route pioneered by David Cameron.

If they fuck it all up -- and I think they are -- they're going to need a 24/7 bodyguard service once the full understanding of what they've done sinks in.

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Anonymous Coward

>If they fuck it all up -- and I think they are -- they're going to need a 24/7 bodyguard service once the full understanding of what they've done sinks in.

I haven't worked out if they are f*cking it up deliberately or through a mixture of incompetence and arrogance. I suspect the latter but we'll probably never find out for definite.

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Anonymous Coward

Boris already needs a 24/7 body guard. You won't see it reported in main stream media and I suspect it will need to be tightened after his recent gaffs too.

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"I haven't worked out if they are f*cking it up deliberately or through a mixture of incompetence and arrogance."

Neither. Just through sheer impossibility. It's just that some of us could see that and voted accordingly. The rest are having to find it out the slow and painful way. Some will cotton on and others will go down the "no true Scotsman" reasoning to delude themselves for ever.

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"I suspect it will need to be tightened after his recent gaffs too."

Tightened as a gag, one hopes.

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Unhappy

"they're going to need a 24/7 bodyguard service once the full understanding"

If only.

In the words of this political operator "The British people are infinitely gullible."

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Anonymous Coward

following the route pioneered by David Cameron.

Cameron said he would negotiate a better EU deal, and then put it to a referendum. He negotiated sweet FA, got a smack in the face in the referendum, and quite correctly decided that he would have no credibility as a Brexit negotiator. The only bad thing about his departure is that we got stuck with Theresa May, who we can only hope gets a large boot up the rear in the near future.

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Re: "I presume David Davis and his fellows will vanish post-Brexit, "

@ smudge

Damn I was really hoping for an answer to that one (from you or anyone who knows what your talking about) instead of up/down votes

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Cameron said he would negotiate a better EU deal

Well if you look at what he did get agreement on, there were some important slow burners in there.

However, if you use Cameron's efforts as a yardstick of negotiating with the EU, things look very different. Because with very little investment - no new government departments etc. and in a very short time frame what he achieved was significant. Compared this to T.May and her Brexit monkeys and it is clear the current government haven't got a clue, other than how to waste vast sums of public money.

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@ Roland6

"Well if you look at what he did get agreement on, there were some important slow burners in there."

He didnt get an agreement. The proposals would have to be voted on unanimously once the referendum was over. Cameron got nothing.

"it is clear the current government haven't got a clue, other than how to waste vast sums of public money."

I think that sums up governments pretty well. This one no different.

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Re: @ Roland6

@Codejunky - Cameron did get an agreement, just that he made our acceptance conditional on the referendum; T.May et al are currently trying to avoid a repeat performance over their Brexit negotiations...

I think that sums up governments pretty well. This one no different.

Agree - but there is a nice irony to having a Conservative party/government, committed to a small state, massively increasing the size of the civil service :)

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Re: @ Roland6

"Cameron did get an agreement, just that he made our acceptance conditional on the referendum"

Sort of. Simply it was an agreement which was shoddy in its binding (https://fullfact.org/europe/explaining-eu-deal-it-legally-binding/) which is not an agreement. He had an agreement not to use GBP to prop up Greece and the EU did it anyway so the EU has no form on keeping to agreements.

"Agree - but there is a nice irony to having a Conservative party/government, committed to a small state, massively increasing the size of the civil service :)"

Do they still try to claim this? If they do I wonder if anyone believes them. Really does seem to be slim pickings for parties wanting to reduce the civil service (or having the guts to do so).

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Facepalm

Why do we need to import anything...

We have everything we need in the good old UK commune. Just looking around my office I can see everything we need. There are some nice sticks over there by the filing cabinet, and... oh, there were definitely some tea bags in the kitchenette area last time l looked.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

I think you'll find that the tea in the teabags isn't actually GROWN in Yorkshire.... maybe we can look forward to decades of drinking delicious "rhubarb tea"

So the MPs are slamming the unpreparedness of IT systems for brexit, after telling everyone for ages that it would all be so easy. Would be interested to know how businesses are supposed to make their systems compliant, when we don't know wheret the hell the rules are going to be once we leave thanks to the "everything's going great, but we;re not going to tell you what we've achieved until the very end" attitude of the government.

Plus, if the system was anywhere near well designed, it would scale horizontally, allowing additional load demands to be met simply by adding more servers. But this is government IT and they obviously don't care about stuff like that when they can feel ideologically correct about the "put everything out to competetive tender and award to the lowest bidder" (i.e. Capita, EDS or one of the other of those lot) process.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why do we need to import anything...

you'll find that the tea in the teabags isn't actually GROWN in Yorkshire.

Nor anywhere in the EU, for that matter.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

I think you'll find that the tea in the teabags isn't actually GROWN in Yorkshire

Tea is Camellia sinensis. I'm sure it could be grown on Ilkley moor: http://www.rhsplants.co.uk/plants/_/camellia-sinensis-var-sinensis/classid.2000021386/ It's an ericaceous plant so the soils should suit and the climate can't be worse than the Himalayas.

maybe we can look forward to decades of drinking delicious "rhubarb tea"

That should keep things moving.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

Well, they do grow tea in Cornwall

https://tregothnan.co.uk/

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

"Nor anywhere in the EU, for that matter."

<cough> https://tregothnan.co.uk/

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

maybe we can look forward to decades of drinking delicious "rhubarb tea"

And the English Oak trees will give us plenty of acorns so we don't need to import that foreign 'coffee' stuff!

(Wanders off singing "Hearts of Oak". Very badly, and off-key.)

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

<cough> https://tregothnan.co.uk/

Indeed, how could I have forgotten. I was in that part of the world this summer & saw the ads. Thanks for the reminder.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why do we need to import anything...

All lies, tea comes from China, I know this because people often refer to "all the tea in China" therefore all the tea is in China.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

@ Christoph

"And the English Oak trees will give us plenty of acorns so we don't need to import that foreign 'coffee' stuff!"

None of my coffee comes from the EU.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

@codejunky

None of my coffee comes from the EU.

No, but the EU has 0.0% tariff on import of unroasted coffee, whereas WTO rules (if I interpret them rightly, which I probably haven't) looks like 20%.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

@ Pen-y-gors

"No, but the EU has 0.0% tariff on import of unroasted coffee, whereas WTO rules (if I interpret them rightly, which I probably haven't) looks like 20%."

You didnt. WTO rules state the maximum we can charge, there is no minimum. Only what we apply to one we must apply to all. So where the EU prices the poor world out of foodstuffs because it will upset french farmers we wont be stuck with that dumb policy and can easily reduce the costs of imports without protecting the protectionist interests of the rest of the EU.

Amusingly the doom-song efforts either assume we will use the same tariffs as the EU (which is self defeating) or the maximum WTO tariffs. Both assumptions being extremely stupid and only valid for propaganda.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

>You didnt. WTO rules state the maximum we can charge, there is no minimum. Only what we apply to one we must apply to all. So where the EU prices the poor world out of foodstuffs because it will upset french farmers we wont be stuck with that dumb policy and can easily reduce the costs of imports without protecting the protectionist interests of the rest of the EU.

Just out of interest, but what happens to the native UK farming industry if we reduce import tariffs to 0?

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

@ Dave Schofield

"Just out of interest, but what happens to the native UK farming industry if we reduce import tariffs to 0?"

That is a really good question. Right now our farming survives because even though nobody in their right mind would pay so much for so little, the gov takes our money (include EU in this) and gives it to them so we will buy their products. Basically we are overcharged. But the UK doesnt produce much of what we eat and it is overpriced for what it is.

Apparently New Zealand did something similar in making farming stand on its own 2 feet and it did. Basically our food costs go down and our farming industry either produces something of value or folds.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

Just out of interest, but what happens to the native UK farming industry if we reduce import tariffs to 0?

Once it is free of all that Eu red-tape it will be free to export its straight bananas to the rest of the world.

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Unhappy

"what happens..native UK farming industry if..reduce import tariffs to 0?" "a really good question."

You bet it is.

A substantial part of the Europe still has the idea of "part time farmers," where they have smallish holdings and day jobs. People who run a few chickens, and/or cows, maybe some rabbits.

But the UK had to "industrialize" it's farming during WWII.

As a result it's got a relatively small number of very large (by European standards) farm holdings in a small number of hands.

And a lot of them are on a nice fat subsidy check from the EU, along with assorted MP's and TV presenters.

A lot of them are also in what was the "Country Landowners Association" and (surprise surprise) are part of the Tory rump.

Fat cats don't like having their cream supply cut off, so don't be too surprised if your little free market fantasy "suddenly" develops a few hitches.

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Re: "what happens..native UK farming industry..

On the one side Lord whatsit with his home counties seat, on the other Monsanto saying that if Ms May wants a photo op with the president then restrictions on GM / hormones / antibiotics / pesticides better come into line with the USA and any restrictions on US agri-business buying UK farms are going away

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

>That is a really good question.

Well, we could ask the experts. Most economists think that our farming industry would not be able to compete with cheaper imports without increasing payments to them from the government.

But, you could argue that they are Remainers, so how about Patrick Minford who is one of the biggest advocates of zero tariffs. He reckons it will destroy the UK farming (and manufacturing) industries but the other industries will eventually do better.

Or maybe Pete North, who was very involved in the Leave campaign. He thinks it will be a disaster, as going to WTO would be. So do Leave.UK.

So, that doesn't actually leave many people that think reducing tariffs for food would be a good idea. Perhaps you have a Nobel prize in economics and could explain how it would work, because the experts seem fairly united in believing it won't.

Even if we did benefit in the short term from reducing the tariffs to zero for cheaper food it is doubtful that would happen over the long-term. Once we are entirely reliant on imports the importers can start increasing the prices. Long-term we are looking at significant food price increases.

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@ John Smith 19 native UK farming industry

"Fat cats don't like having their cream supply cut off, so don't be too surprised if your little free market fantasy "suddenly" develops a few hitches."

I am not sure if your comment is for the EU or against. It seems to say that the current system is that and it is bad (ok I will accept) but on leaving we might have the same bad system. If we dont try to move away from a bad system then we are guaranteed the bad system.

Sorry I am honestly confused.

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Re: Why do we need to import anything...

@AC

"Well, we could ask the experts. Most economists think that our farming industry would not be able to compete with cheaper imports without increasing payments to them from the government."

Ok. So we can either be forced to buy overpriced home grown (subsidy) or we all have cheaper food. And it is unlikely who whole farming market would collapse, they would likely do something productive that meets a need/desire that we are not forced to subsidise. This would also help poor countries better than our aid programs.

"as going to WTO would be"

I have yet to hear this disaster of WTO. Some people seem to think we have to charge the maximum tariffs or something but the WTO sets maximum tariffs. As discussed above the farming policy in the EU is protectionist, and of course to the detriment of the poor world who can supply that market cheaper.

"because the experts seem fairly united in believing it won't."

You gave 2 examples. 1 who thinks its a good idea, one who thinks its bad. If you count nobody as thinking its a good idea then you may need to reword your comment. Are we trying to support farmers or the population of the country? Are farmers more important than everyone else in this country? I dont consider them less important but I dont see how they are more important. We cant grow enough to support the population here. We import a great amount of our food.

"Even if we did benefit in the short term from reducing the tariffs to zero for cheaper food it is doubtful that would happen over the long-term. Once we are entirely reliant on imports the importers can start increasing the prices. Long-term we are looking at significant food price increases."

Well that doesnt work does it. China had the monopoly on rare earths so bumped up the price to take advantage. But it is a contestable monopoly and Australia took that monopoly away because they could do it cheaper than China would sell it. Same with oil prices now with OPEC and fracking. Are you telling me it is harder to restart agriculture if it becomes cost effective to do so? And since it would be raising the quality of life in the poorer countries that we can buy food from it would reduce the worlds poor and dying. Long term its a pretty good policy.

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Unhappy

"Sorry I am honestly confused."

Then perhaps you shouldn't have voted in the first place?

"f we dont try to move away from a bad system then we are guaranteed the bad system."

Only if you bi**ed about it endlessly while doing nothing constructive about changing it while you are a part of that system. Brexiteers whine about "remoaners," having bi**hed on for 42 years to get another vote.

British people seem to have some hazy, comfortable, idyllic view of the British Countryside which was bul***hit in the 19th century and is a total fantasy in the 21st.

That "patchwork of small fields" got ripped out ASAP during WWII as the UK struggled to live on what supplies it could buy abroad and ship back home without them being sunk by U boats.

What people don't realize is just how capital intensive modern farming is. That's why quite a lot of it is now owned by Insurance and investment companies. A decade ago the average hardware on an arable farm was £1million. That's more than a good few light engineering companies have as assets. BTW It's also a very tax effective way to operate. Write offs and support everywhere. It's no wonder a typcial large farm will have a "Farm Manager" and a full time Tractor Driver, because frankly Farmer Palmer ain't got time to actually farm.

I wonder if the UKG is ready to go on handing that money out to the Country Land and Business Association Limited as they are now called (who are BTW currently looking for a Taxation Adviser )

Membership has it's privileges.

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Re: "what happens..native UK farming industry if..reduce import tariffs to 0?" " ...

But the UK had to "industrialize" it's farming during WWII.

As a result it's got a relatively small number of very large (by European standards) farm holdings in a small number of hands.

It's not that simple.

It's been a tradition in England for centuries that the eldest son inherited the farm, and other children had to do something else (hence the stereotype that the 2nd son went into the army, and the third entered the church). That model ensured that farms remained intact, and large, and over time, as people bought neighbouring farms, the overall size increased.

In other countries, France as an obvious example, that practice is illegal. The law requires that all children inherit equally, so when a farmer with 4 children dies the farm is necessarily cut into 4 pieces and shared out. Even if one child can raise the money to buy out a sibling this still tends to keep farms small, fragmented, and uneconomic. It's almost impossible to create a large farm in such countries, hence the huge tax subsidies handed out to keep such small farms going. This imbalance in the CAP is one of the reasons that the UK rebate was negotiated, because UK farmers received far less in subsidy than their continental equivalents. If left to operate solely on their own merits the UK farming sector would be in far better economic health than those in most of the EU.

Standardizing inheritance rules across the EU would of course be a way to "solve" this, but would clearly be politically impossible. Like so many things (taxes, pensions, etc.) it shows why the "union" is just a pipe dream, and why all those tax-funded eurocrats can only nibble at the edges of a true common Europe by tweaking the trivial stuff, like mobile phone roaming charges.

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Re: "what happens..native UK farming industry if..reduce import tariffs to 0?" " ...

Standardizing inheritance rules across the EU would of course be a way to "solve" this, but would clearly be politically impossible.

The trouble would be that even if the rules standardised on the UK convention, those who voted Leave would still see this as Brussels dictating to the UK and thus a loss of 'sovereignty'...

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Re: "Sorry I am honestly confused."

@ John Smith 19

"Then perhaps you shouldn't have voted in the first place?"

Because your comment is either for leaving the EU or resigning yourself to a system you consider bad? Surely your considering that system bad would cause you to want to move away from it?

"Only if you bi**ed about it endlessly while doing nothing constructive about changing it while you are a part of that system."

Thats interesting. So remainers are going to work with us to make brexit work? Or do you mean Cameron's amusing attempt to get minor and fairly pointless concessions from the EU or he will campaign to leave (he didnt get them and he didnt campaign to leave). Or before that where he had a written agreement that the GBP contribution would not be used to prop up the EUR (Greece) and then they did it anyway. In a system which refuses to reform even when it knows its going to the wall.

"British people seem to have some hazy, comfortable, idyllic view of the British Countryside which was bul***hit in the 19th century and is a total fantasy in the 21st."

What does that have to do with the price of fish?

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Re: "what happens..native UK farming industry if..reduce import tariffs to 0?" " ...

those who voted Leave would still see this as Brussels dictating to the UK

And those in other EU countries would see it as Brussels siding with the UK. That's why the EU cannot work, there will never be agreement on the serious issues. They'll keep rearranging the deckchairs while the ship continues to sink under them.

Economic co-operation works, and is accepted by most people, but the spectrum of social and political views is simply too different across Europe (which is its huge strength). It's a classic case of the whole being more than the sum of the parts, but a central government will never see beyond that simple sum of parts. They can't even commit to one place for the parliament for fear of offending the French, most MEPs would prefer to be in Brussels full-time,but they still have to have the Strasbourg-Brussels commute to keep the French sweet.

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