The committee, made up of MP’s from across the political spectrum, accused officials at the department of having a “complacent” approach to preparations. The report said: “There is a real risk that the Department for Transport will not be ready in the event of the UK departing the EU without a negotiated deal, and this risk is increasing as time runs out to deliver what is needed.” Criticising plans for projects such as the traffic management system on the M20 to ease problems at ports on the South Coast, which has been dubbed a “13-mile lorry park”, it added: “The slow progress and poor communication around work to avoid this through schemes such as Project Brock concerns us.
“The lack of detailed information provided to businesses to help them prepare and the secrecy surrounding discussions through the use of non-disclosure agreements is hampering businesses’ ability to plan.”
With less than two weeks before MPs vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal it is highly likely Parliament will reject the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement with the EU.
Up to 80 Tory MP’s, Labour, SNP and DUP are planning to vote down the deal in the House of Commons on December 11.
That outcome would create even more un-certainty and increase the chances of a no-deal Brexit.
Mrs May has planned to travel up and down the country to rally up support behind her deal and the report also stated even if the deal is passed through parliament there are still “challenges” ahead during the transition period.
The report said: “With only months to go, it is extremely worrying that we are seeing these same concerns again and again with little progress being made.
“Even if a deal is agreed, the department faces a challenging workload during the proposed transition period.
“We acknowledge the difficult situation for the department in having to prepare for all Brexit scenarios.
“But it must be open about the challenges it faces and work with businesses and stakeholders to help them get ready for whatever the future brings.”
Meg Hillier, the Labour MP who chairs the cross-party group of MPs, said the risks are “severe” but plans to avoid disruption around major ports “are worryingly under-developed”.
She said: “The secrecy around the department’s preparations, and the shortcomings in assurance on its progress, are a potentially toxic combination.
“We accept the continued uncertainty over the final shape of Brexit adds to the complexity of the challenge. But the department’s Brexit work is simply too important to get wrong.
“It must be more open about what needs to be achieved, and work with business and others to deliver it.
“We urge it to respond meaningfully to our concerns in the weeks ahead.”
A Department for Transport spokesman dismissed the concerns raised by the report.
They said: “We disagree with the committee’s conclusions which are not accurate and we are both disappointed and surprised that they have failed to reflect the evidence set out in the National Audit Office report, which found that the department has made a determined effort in its preparations and achieved a great deal.”
Published at Wed, 28 Nov 2018 00:01:00 +0000