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UK-EU trade faces major disruption even with deal, say auditors

Spending watchdog claims ports and businesses are not ready for 1 January, with Northern Ireland a big concern

Billions of pounds worth of trade with the European Union will face “significant disruption” on 1 January, regardless of whether a trade deal is agreed, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has concluded.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said crucial IT systems have yet to be tested and transit areas for lorries are not ready as the government attempts to prepare new border controls for the end of the Brexit transition period. The planned controls, which had already been rated “high risk”, have been further hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released today.

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