UK Customs has been accused of being “asleep at the wheel”, by allowing imports of illegal goods from China without paying VAT.
Several executives involved in imports into the UK, have noted the scale of the problem, particularly in regards to cross-border e-commerce. The UK government could face a £1.7bn fine.
“France, Germany, Spain and Italy are estimated to have lost a combined €3.2bn from 2013 to 2016 in VAT revenue as a result of British failures in handling imports at its ports,” notes The Guardian.
With the UK looking to leave the Customs Union, politicians have expressed concern that its import customs officials have failed to take action against the frauds.
One MP said: “The UK border force is asleep at the wheel, and it’s going to cost the taxpayer billions.’