15:23 GMT29 October 2020
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    UK Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove removed all doubts for businesses in Britain when he said on Wednesday that Brexit transition period will not be extended.

    Gove spoke in the House of Commons, where he gave the MPs the latest updates on the preparedness of UK businesses for leaving the European Union and the preparations by the government ahead of Brexit.

    The end of the Brexit transition period is fixed in law, Gove said, adding that many UK companies have not taken all the necessary steps to be ready for it.

    “Our survey evidence indicates that while 78% of businesses have taken steps, just 24% believe that they are fully ready. Indeed, 43% of businesses actually believe the transition period will be extended, even though the deadline for any extension has now long passed and the date that we leave the single market and the customs union is fixed in law and supported across this House,” Gove said.  

    He also warned that lack of business preparedness "will be not just economic opportunities missed" but also a "much wider disruption." 

    The government is publishing the “reasonable worst case scenario” Brexit document in order to provide the information on “what could happened if we don’t improve preparedness,” Gove told MPs.

    This scenario includes clogging of the Dover to Calais crossing and queuing of thousands of lorries in Kent. 

    "This could lead to maximum queues of around 7,000 port-bound trucks in Kent and associated maximum delays of up to two days," he said.

    Businesses and the public need to be ready to abide by the changes in trade and travel, following the transition period, the minister warned. He said that the government has invested in increased customer agents capacity in its efforts to avoid disruptions.  

    Irrespective of whether the UK strikes an FDA with the EU or not, truck drivers would face new customs controls and processes irrespective, Gove explained.

    "Simply put, if traders, both in the UK and EU, have not completed the right paperwork, their goods will be stopped when entering the EU and disruption will occur," he added. 

    Britain is determined to secure a free trade deal with the European Union, the minister assured. 

    "We're absolutely determined to do everything that we can to secure a deal," Gove told parliament. 

    The transition period, during which the UK is bound to the EU's rules, ends 31 December 2021. 

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