Brexit and the UK border Contents


Effective management of the border is fundamental to ensuring the security of the UK and the smooth passage of people and goods. How well the government manages the border after the UK leaves the EU will be seen as an important test of the success of the UK’s new relationships with the EU and the rest of the world. In 2016, more than 310 million people and nearly 500 million tonnes of freight crossed the UK border. In the same year, the Home Office made 16.3 million decisions about the rights of citizens from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to enter the UK. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) currently processes around 55 million customs declarations on imports and exports each year. Once the UK leaves the EU, the number of decisions needing to be made about permitting people or goods to cross the border could increase by 230% and 360% respectively, depending on the outcome of negotiations.

Border Force, part of the Home Office, is the main government organisation working at the border. It is responsible for securing the border and managing the flow of people and goods. A large number of other government organisations, however, have important border policy or operational responsibilities. These include HMRC, which is responsible for collecting tax, duties and excise, and processing customs declarations, and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which has responsibilities for controlling the import of animals, plants and products of animal or plant origin. The Government has created a Border Planning Group (the Group) to oversee departments’ efforts to implement new border arrangements in the run-up to the UK’s exit from the EU.

5 December 2017