Internal treasury figures suggest that less than 3 out of 10 exporters will have the required paperwork to trade with the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Liberal Democrats have warned.
Data obtained by the Party has shown that only 27% of businesses which trade solely with the European Union have been allocated an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number by HMRC, which is necessary under customs rules.
Liberal Democrat treasury spokesperson Chuka Umunna responded to the figures, saying: "These figures reveal that an overwhelming majority of UK exporters to the EU are unprepared for a ‘no deal’ Brexit and will not be in a position to deal with the mountain of red tape and bureaucracy it will burden them with on 31 October,"
"Pursuing a ‘no deal’ Brexit is wholly irresponsible political choice of the new administration for which there is no mandate and which will put businesses and jobs at risk."
Responding to the story, a HMRC spokesperson said that the body was doing "everything we can to help businesses get ready for the UK leaving the EU", adding that "Businesses who import or export goods need to take action, the first step of which is obtaining an EORI number (if they don’t already have one). It’s simple and free and can be done online."
According to the Lib Dems, it would take until 2021 “at the earliest” for all EU exporters to be assigned an EORI number if the application rate continued to stay at 10,000 applicants a month.