Free from fear or favour
No tracking. No cookies

The Billions Wasted on Brexit Border Controls to Make British Businesses Worse Off

Brexit will cost British firms £7.5 billion a year in new costs, according to a new report, with hundreds of millions wasted on border facilities that were never used

Newsletter offer

Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive editorial emails from the Byline Times Team.

Brexit border controls will cost the UK Government at least £4.7 billion to implement, while adding hundreds of millions of pounds to the additional costs of doing business for British firms, according to a damning new report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The costs of imposing what the UK Government has promised will be the “world’s most effective border” have spiralled due to what the NAO describe as “several major challenges” to implementing the required technology.

Post-Brexit border checks have already cost British businesses an estimated £7.5 billion a year in new red tape, according to the NAO.

However, the Government has repeatedly delayed the imposition of full checks onto traders, fearing the heavy impact it will have on the economy.

The full checks are mostly expected to be imposed at some point later this year. Once fully implemented, the new sanitary and safety checks are expected to add a further £469 million a year to the cost of doing business for companies trading with the EU, according to the report.

However, the £4.7 billion cost of implementing the new checks does not account for the additional costs of maintaining and staffing the new facilities, meaning final costs could spiral further.

It also remains unclear what full plans the Government has for imposing checks on trade entering Northern Ireland, the report states.

Brexit Ruined the Stock Market – and Not Even Rejoining the EU Will Fix It

A leading writer on the economy explains why the underperformance of the stock market should shock and concern everyone

Brexit Waste

The estimated additional costs comes on top of hundreds of millions of pound already wasted by the government on border facilities that were never fully used.

The Government bought or built sites at Dover White Cliffs and Dover Bastion Point at a total cost of £62 million, before later deciding they would not actually be needed.

A further £258 million was wasted on building and running eight temporary border facilities in order to cope with additional demand that never fully materialised.


Receive the monthly Byline Times newspaper and help to support fearless, independent journalism that breaks stories, shapes the agenda and holds power to account.

We’re not funded by a billionaire oligarch or an offshore hedge-fund. We rely on our readers to fund our journalism. If you like what we do, please subscribe.

Despite leaving the EU in 2020, the UK Government has still not set out to British businesses exactly when all the required new checks will finally be imposed upon them.

The National Audit Office called on the Government to set out their timetable.

“The UK leaving the EU created a large-scale change in arrangements for the movement of goods across the border”, Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said.

“However, more than three years after the end of the transition period, it is still not clear when full controls will be in place.”

The costs of imposing new Brexit border controls come on top of the broader economic costs of leaving the EU.

According to the Government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility, Brexit is forecast to reduce the UK’s overall long-term productivity by four per cent relative to remaining in the EU, with exports and imports 15% lower than they otherwise would have been.

Written by

This article was filed under
, , , , , ,