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NI Brexit trade and customs warning

NI Brexit trade and customs warning

London : Northern Ireland is not well prepared for a no-deal Brexit in areas such as trade and customs, auditors have said.

Planning is also “severely constrained” by the uncertainty surrounding the border, migration and the repatriation of powers from Brussels, said the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

Planning responsibilities fall to Westminster as “reserved” powers.

But these powers were never devolved to Stormont, according to a review by the spending watchdog.

Extensive preparations have been made by Northern Irish civil servants in areas which come under the remit of the former power-sharing government at Stormont, such as agriculture, the review said.

It warned: “In respect of those areas where policy is reserved, Northern Ireland is not well prepared for leaving the EU without a deal.

“The civil service remains engaged with the UK government to ensure that Northern Ireland’s interests are recognised in the negotiations, although without a functioning executive its influence has undoubtedly been limited.”