back to article NAO: Customs union IT system may not be ready before Brexit

Plans by HMRC to overhaul the clunky IT system underpinning £34bn in tax at the border may not be complete before Brexit, the UK government's spending watchdog has warned today. The National Audit Office said there is a risk that HMRC will not have the full functionality and scope of the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) in …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Flame

    Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

    How can a system that was supposed to come online in December 2020 and not designed to handle EU exports be ready two years earlier (January 2019) and handle EU exports?

    Given the negotiations haven't finished, the spec isn't known yet. We don't know what's going to happen about the Irish border.

    The UK is set up for a train wreck due to incompetent government.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

      On the other hand, surely the imports/exports to additional (EU) nations should just be parameterised and it should be irrelevant, whether the deal is known or not, that is just parameters for the EU or for individual countries within the EU.

      Likewise, the scalability of the system seems a bit fishy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

        "On the other hand, surely the imports/exports to additional (EU) nations should just be parameterised and it should be irrelevant, whether the deal is known or not, that is just parameters for the EU or for individual countries within the EU."

        Sounds more like an inheritance hierarchy, with the complexity coming from the sheer number of types of goods and working out the tariffs applicable. In fact, a blockchain ledger type thing may be very suitable.

        "Likewise, the scalability of the system seems a bit fishy."

        Indeed.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

          We had that in our ERP system, when the EU and Germany changed the rules for different categories of products, we needed about an hours worth of programming and the rest was simply applying rules against the products, lands and combinations of both.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

      It's a government IT project.

      They never finish.

      They never work.

      They are just an ongoing way to provide money to private contractors "recommended" by various politicians.

      You don't think that anything would ever have been ready by December 2020 do you?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

        "They never finish.

        They never work."

        Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Usually it's only the latter that make reported headlines.

        OTOH I agree this particular one has more than a whiff of wishful thinking about it. In fact, it's the sort of thing that should have been taken into account when Article 50 was drawn up but presumably nobody expected it to be actually used.

    3. Snorlax Silver badge

      Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

      @Dan 55: "Given the negotiations haven't finished, the spec isn't known yet. We don't know what's going to happen about the Irish border."

      The EU's stated aim is to avoid a hard border, but I don't see how that's going to work.

      If (or rather when) Scotland goes it's own way, Northern Ireland's going to be in trouble.

      1. big_D Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

        The Scot's have it easy, they just have to repair Hadrians Wall! :-D

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

          Looks like geography isn't a strong point, you do know Hadrian's is quite a distance into England right?

          1. Snorlax Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

            @Anonymous Coward: "Looks like geography isn't a strong point, you do know Hadrian's is quite a distance into England right?"

            Spoken like a true pedant. Bravo.

            Who could have ever imagined that the England/Scotland border might have shifted a bit in the few years since 122AD?

          2. James O'Shea

            Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

            "you do know Hadrian's is quite a distance into England right?"

            And this is a problem because?

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

        The United Celtic Republic of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man is going to be a thing.

        Cornwall will ask to join as an associate member and the smuggling will start again.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

          Cornwall will ask to join as an associate member and the smuggling will start again.

          Nope we'll be "wrecking"

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

            Nope we'll be "wrecking"

            Join the queue. There's quite a bit of that going on already. The ship hasn't hot the rocks yet so nobody's really noticed.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

              Obligatory link.

              There won't be much to salvage from this wreck...

          2. James O'Shea

            Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

            "Cornwall will ask to join as an associate member and the smuggling will start again.

            Nope we'll be "wrecking""

            Too late. It's been pre-wrecked.

        2. James O'Shea

          Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

          "Cornwall will ask to join as an associate member and the smuggling will start again."

          'Again'? When did it stop?

    4. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Wishful Oxford PPE & Classics + Crapita thinking

      The UK is set up for a train wreck due to incompetent government.

      OTOH, good time to get in to government IT contracting...

  2. Ben1892

    No wonder carousel fraud is rife, I naively assumed that we kept track of goods entering and leaving the UK even though we are part of the EU and only need to charge duty on extra-EU imports.

    1. P. Lee

      Do we have to require extra declarations by brexit?

      We could just enforce the existing rules until we have a capable IT system. The whole point of it is that we don't have anyone telling us what rules have to be enforced.

      Even if the eu imposes duties, we don't have to do the same. Are their systems up to the task of handling the extra load?

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      I naively assumed that we kept track of goods entering and leaving the UK

      That function was probably deemed too expensive for the amount of fraud loss it would halt. But the consultants likely failed to factor in the probability that criminals would exploit this weak spot and now here we are, 25 years later and with billions lost.

  3. Ralph the Wonder Llama
    FAIL

    Erm...

    ...lol?

  4. Pat 11

    who's the contractor

    Who's building this, and what is their track record in delivering on time within budget?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: who's the contractor

      RCDTS - Revenue and Customs Digital Technology Services. The wholly-Government-owned company used as a vehicle for the arms-length inhousing of IT services from the Aspire contractors. As yet they have no track record of major projects of their own as they were only established a couple of years ago.

      HM Customs, as was, used to have a mixed record of delivery before both orivatisation and merger with the Inland Revenue, but it was better than the hit rate of the private sector at the time.

    2. Mark 110

      Re: who's the contractor

      Couldn't we have just bought a working system from someone and developed the interfaces. I assume other countries have Customs management systems that work . . .

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: who's the contractor

        I assume other countries have Customs management systems that work . . .

        Yeah, but they're all written in a foreign language.

  5. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Don't listen to the experts, leaving the EU will be easy, won't cost us anything and will give us full control of everything."

    Yeah, what do experts know...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      re: Experts

      I never knew that Farage was an expert in anything other than milking the EU for as much personal dosh as possible.

      :) :) :wink:

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      It's okay now that we have the official answer for any kind of problems "Tell them to go whistle!". "You do know how to whistle don't you?" (with sincere apologies to Bacall and Bogart).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought that was the politicos saying that

      and I've never heard them called experts before!

      I think it was the experts saying we would have to setup 20 or more regulatory bodies, work out if we could fly aircraft out of the country, extend the fishery protection fleet and rework thousands of hours of law effort, and work out how or if we can import or export goods or services never mind tariff's. and try to do all this in less time than any procurement by government has been managed in history.

      I think the politicians summed it up as "its good for the country" - I am yet to be convinced its not more akin to the country being a stroppy teenager locking themselves in the bedroom saying I hate you and I'll never come out...

  6. jonha

    HMRC and IT... when these two acronyms appear in one sentence they never fail to make me shiver. These days I do my tax SA normally early in the summer because I had so much trouble with their online site that I was actually contemplating for a while to return to paper. And I am fortunate: my only contact with them is the tax SA.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

      @jonha

      I do mine at the last minute. Recently HMRC said that I owed them £x but not long after said that they owed me £2x. wtf!

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Not to worry. Brexit probably won't be ready by Brexit either.

    Hence the talk of "transitional arrangements." OTOH they would bar the UK from negotiating those foreign trade deals with that nice Mr Trump Mrs May seems so keen on.

    BTW....

    According to El Reg

    Aspire --> Fujitsu, Capgemini and Accenture

    So with this collection of "The Usual Suspects (TM)" what can we expect?

    Well they've already under sized the capacity of the system by quite a lot.

    And the end goal is a moving target TBD by David Davis and his team on the UK side and the EU negotiators on the other (rather than 27 separate bi-lateral trade negotiations High-Chancellor-in Waiting Prime Minister May thought was going to be the case), so maximum flexibility would seem pretty important IE reconfiguration by driver files, not re writing programs.

    And ability to specify multiple (and complex) interfaces to cope with linking into other existing large SW systems inside the dept.

    Time will tell how accurate a description of the new software this turns out to be.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Not to worry. Brexit probably won't be ready by Brexit either.

      "rather than 27 separate bi-lateral trade negotiations High-Chancellor-in Waiting Prime Minister May thought was going to be the case"

      I know the leavers don't know/care how the EU works, but how the flaming fudge does anyone think that was going to be the case. I mean, they bang on about how the EU controls the trade agreements, and the UK can't negotiate them seperately, but somehow once the UK leaves the EU no longer negotiates as a bloc any more. Insanity.....

      Then again, the Leave plan may have been:

      - announce UK is leaving EU

      - EU promptly collapses

      - individual ex-EU nations beg UK to save them from each other

      Which at least has the merit of being a plan, versus the "p and not p" statements that seem to emanate from Mr Davis's speaking hole.

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Not to worry. Brexit probably won't be ready by Brexit either.

        @MonkeyCee: Have an upvote. I think the UK vastly overestimated its importance in the grand scheme of things. Comments like "no deal is better than a bad deal" or "the EU can whistle for its money" make me wonder if the government actually wants to piss off the whole of Europe rather than come to any kind of agreement as regards trade or movement of people.

        Insanity indeed.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Not to worry. Brexit probably won't be ready by Brexit either.

          And if they do piss off the whole of the EU there will be no transitional period either, unless the EU's position in March 2019 is "we feel sorry for you, negotiation's over, you've got two more years to sort things out before you leave, pull your finger out".

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not to worry. Brexit probably won't be ready by Brexit either.

          "wonder if the government actually wants to piss off the whole of Europe"

          They want to ingratiate them with those voters who voted leave and who do want to piss off the whole of Europe. Neither government nor voters have thought through the likely consequences (see article for an example). The government also hasn't realised that those who voted that way were never going to vote for them as a party and that a good many of those who previously did but also voted remain are now not going to vote for them as a party (see the recent election results).

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Not to worry. Brexit probably won't be ready by Brexit either.

        Mr Davis's speaking hole.

        Was he facing away from you when you heard him say this?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Not to worry. Brexit probably won't be ready by Brexit either.

      "Time will tell how accurate a description of the new software this turns out to be."

      Quite so but I reckon it's a pretty good description of what it needs to be.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Quite so but I reckon it's a pretty good description of what it needs to be."

        TBH it was just my boiler plate for how to approach govt systems in large countries.

        They're big. Don't turn up if you can't handle 10s of millions of records minimum (think size of a population over decades, or number of companies registered at Companies House, also over a decade)

        The UKG IT system is "mature." Lots of systems sharing data. In the case of HMRC also data transfer to other countries.

        Paradoxically they are also moving targets, changing as the legislation changes on the large scale, changing customs duties and taxes during a budget.

        As was noted in a Raik presentation "At small scale anything can be made to work." True.

        Live government systems are never small scale.

  8. Nick Kew

    Red Tape

    This is an ingredient in the Red Tape that stifles the real economy.

    When the IT falls down in a heap, which way will they go? Scrap the red tape, or double down on it and employ an army of Red Tape Clerks?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Red Tape

      If they want to stifle the red tape, then the UK has to stay in the EEA. If the UK is outside the EEA then customs declarations for the UK's largest market aren't optional.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Red Tape

      Pffft, customs, what a complete waste of time eh? Lets just let people bring whatever they want into the country, what could possibly go wrong?

      I'm sure importing any old thing without paying taxes will be a massive boost to British businesses, it'll probably save us at least £350 million a week!

  9. graeme leggett

    dichotomy and delay

    Brexit - all about increasing trade with restof the world and making it easier to do business.

    Any rational organization would have thought "Is there anything we really need to have in place before the two year cutoff for negotiations when it could go a bit WTO?"

    But like Euratom debacle it seems to be full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes (and enemy air cover, shore guns, etc etc)

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: dichotomy and delay

      @ graeme leggett

      "Any rational organization would have thought"

      That is where things fall over. The result of the referendum was so certain and predetermined that when the 'wrong' result was returned the gov had nothing prepared. They had no clue nor even the intellectual capacity it seems to consider their demanded outcome wouldnt be delivered.

      As a leave voter it is irritating to watch the knock off brexit party trying to negotiate a brexit when it wasnt such a difficult thing if they would just accept it and commit. It is almost like their desire to remain is so strong they would burn the country than free it.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: dichotomy and delay

        to negotiate a brexit when it wasnt such a difficult thing

        Right, about as difficult as cancelling a magazine subscription…

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: dichotomy and delay

          @ Charlie Clark

          "Right, about as difficult as cancelling a magazine subscription…"

          More complicated than that but not massively difficult. This is a complete brexit, split from the EU and be willing to do a trade deal if it is any good. It is in their favour and ours to be amicable, as with the rights of citizens to remain.

          @AC

          "Well it might have helped if those who campaigned so vigorously for Brexit had given the implications a bit of thought."

          Kinda hard in a rigged vote. Cameron was in gov, the gov was for remain, the gov refused to negotiate any possible form of exit, Cameron insisted he would stay regardless of the result. So it was the fault of the gov and their remain campaign to rig the vote that refused to allow any preparation.

          "It's like a couple where one partner wants a divorce"

          Wow this is a polygamous relationship with a lot of shafting. No. This is a club and we are members. We had the right to join and so surely the right to leave. Otherwise it is a mafia, a cartel, the kind of organisation who tramples the people for their vision. Based on what we have seen which way do you think they are leaning?

          "And we are the ones who will end up in a bed-sit, staring at the blank walls, and the final demand from the child support agency, complaining that life is unfair because she got the house and car, and it turns out that beautiful American girl with the floppy orange hair wasn't really looking for 'love', she just wanted money, like everyone else."

          I am sorry for whatever trauma you may have been through and I wish you all the best.

          1. Snorlax Silver badge

            Re: dichotomy and delay

            @codejunky: "It is in their favour and ours to be amicable."

            It's in the UK's interests to play ball - the EU not so much.

            The EU won't go easy on the UK pour encourager les autres. End of story.

            The service industry accounts for 80% of the UK economy, so the EU isnt really reliant on the UK for anything which can't be done (cheaper) elsewhere.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: dichotomy and delay

              @ Snorlax

              "It's in the UK's interests to play ball - the EU not so much."

              Really? I guess it depends which part of the EU we talk to. Half the time they are stating how doomed we are, the other begging us not to leave. There was the most amazing fail when the EU thought they would steal our banks. There was also some hope that we would be isolated from the world and fall apart, except the queue for trade deals keeps getting longer. And of course the economy thing, where ours is now (thanks to brexit) starting to recover from the recession almost a decade ago vs the Eurozone (the EU's currency before anyone cries difference) which is trying to stay afloat.

              "The EU won't go easy on the UK pour encourager les autres. End of story."

              And nobody will care. The EU is struggling toward this realisation that their political entity does not have ultimate power. Hell it took the referendum for them to realist that some people dont like the EU!

              "The service industry accounts for 80% of the UK economy, so the EU isnt really reliant on the UK for anything which can't be done (cheaper) elsewhere."

              Erm yes they do. That is why they had such a fit over banking. On top of that they are certainly concerned about the loss of money from us to fund their project. And there is plenty they can get cheaper elsewhere but they wont because of their high trade tariffs (a very good reason to leave).

              I am not saying we are crippling to the EU and why would we be spiteful. We just want to go our own way. But the idea that we are nothing and they are going to threaten and pound on us is amusing but rubbish.

              1. Down not across Silver badge

                Re: dichotomy and delay

                And of course the economy thing, where ours is now (thanks to brexit) starting to recover from the recession almost a decade ago vs the Eurozone (the EU's currency before anyone cries difference) which is trying to stay afloat.

                Except it isn't really. Inflation vs wages is pretty much where it was decade ago.

              2. Snorlax Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: dichotomy and delay

                @codejunky: "Really? I guess it depends which part of the EU we talk to. Half the time they are stating how doomed we are, the other begging us not to leave."

                Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. The EU doesn't give a shit, I guarantee you.

                "There was the most amazing fail when the EU thought they would steal our banks. "

                You sound like the guy in Dr Strangelove who was worried about the Communists sapping his precious fluids.

                "We just want to go our own way."

                If you just want to go your own way, who do you care so much about the EU? The UK isn't being forced into anything, but no agreement means WTO trade terms. Of course, some mentalists will turn this around and complain that "the EU did nothing to accommodate us". However you spin it, you've cut off your nose to spite your face...

              3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

                Re: codejunky

                "knock off brexit party"

                Which one? Before the referendum, the remain/leave split among MPs was about 60/40 - independent of party. The Brexits handed responsibility for large complex important negotiations to a bunch of ignorant two-faced half wits. Even if trade deal were so simple that a single code monkey could handle them there is no way that a parliament of MPs could a good job even if they wanted to.

                It is quite simple. If the government ask you what you want them to do say "nothing". It is what they are best at.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: codejunky

                  @ Down not across

                  "Except it isn't really. Inflation vs wages is pretty much where it was decade ago."

                  A decade ago is before the recession. Assuming you mean after the recession it is core inflation which matters and rising due to the currency correction which is finally happening.

                  @ Charlie Clark

                  You numpty it was you who made the false equivalent. Next your gonna have a go at Doctor Syntax for his comment? And then you talk about brains and experts.

                  @ Snorlax

                  "The EU doesn't give a shit, I guarantee you."

                  Well thats a stark contrast to the very many comments put out by the EU and its presidents. Maybe you should tell them.

                  "You sound like the guy in Dr Strangelove who was worried about the Communists sapping his precious fluids."

                  I am not quite sure what you are saying here? Did you miss their very public efforts to woo our banks (I didnt, I was laughing).

                  "If you just want to go your own way, who do you care so much about the EU?"

                  I assume you have no idea about the EU then? The EU which takes over our trade capabilities? The EU which creates the various rules and regulations we are bound to? To go our own way is to be out of the EU.

                  "The UK isn't being forced into anything, but no agreement means WTO trade terms"

                  And they are terrible aint they? So bad that the EU has them. Erm.

                  "However you spin it, you've cut off your nose to spite your face..."

                  You may believe that, thats your opinion. But we voted leave and surely the EU should be capable of accommodating that? A member of a voluntary club leaving.

                  @ Flocke Kroes

                  Have an upvote. That did make me laugh and this lot dont really fill me with confidence. First I dont trust them to get a complete brexit (maybe with a trade deal if the EU is willing) but also what they do after.

                  1. Snorlax Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: codejunky

                    @codejunky: "I am not quite sure what you are saying here? Did you miss their very public efforts to woo our banks"

                    You keep going on about "our banks". Which banks exactly? Please list some of the "very public efforts" to get them to move - newspaper articles or press releases...

                    Many banks and insurance companies have already moved their European headquarters to other countries as they can see Brexit for the half-arsed shitshow which it is - no "wooing" needed, just pragmatism rather than your sentimental nationalism.

                    The next couple of years are going to be a great time to be in the financial services sector in Dublin or Luxembourg.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: codejunky

                      @ Snorlax

                      https://www.ft.com/content/95cfc094-4224-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2?mhq5j=e3

                      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/07/france-london-banks-brexit-paris-taxes

                      https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/02/06/todays-excellent-joke-paris-to-try-to-replace-london-as-global-financial-centre-post-brexit/#f2fa1877ffc4

                      The last one is the best to read.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: dichotomy and delay

            More complicated than that but not massively difficult.

            ah, the logic of false equivalents! Let's see how far that's gets you. I mean, who needs experts when you've got shit for brains? It's not like it'll make much difference on what you choose!

        2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: dichotomy and delay

          "Right, about as difficult as cancelling a magazine subscription…"

          It's about as simple as falling off a cliff. The trouble is, the bastard EU have built safety railings, attached a safety harness and a parachute to us, and ensured there's a barge at the bottom with frogmen ready to dive in if we miss the barge. And then people complain it takes too long to get rid of all this stuff.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: dichotomy and delay

            >The trouble is, the bastard EU have built safety railings...

            All with the active participation and connivance of those (ie. Westminster politicians and their helpers) who are now wanting to get rid of all this stuff - because they now want to be able to fall off the cliff, and so are complaining about how difficult it all is...

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: dichotomy and delay

          "Right, about as difficult as cancelling a magazine subscription."

          Get real. Nothing's as difficult as that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: dichotomy and delay

        Well it might have helped if those who campaigned so vigorously for Brexit had given the implications a bit of thought.

        It's like a couple where one partner wants a divorce, the other doesn't, and when the judge grants the divorce, the partner who wants out starts whinging that the partner who wanted to stay married hasn't made plans for who will look after the 2.3 kids and the half a dog.

        And we are the ones who will end up in a bed-sit, staring at the blank walls, and the final demand from the child support agency, complaining that life is unfair because she got the house and car, and it turns out that beautiful American girl with the floppy orange hair wasn't really looking for 'love', she just wanted money, like everyone else.

        1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: dichotomy and delay

          "Well it might have helped if those who campaigned so vigorously for Brexit had given the implications a bit of thought."

          They have. Essentially it's "better to rule in hell than serve in heaven".

          The oligarchs who put their money behind Leave did so knowing full well it'll cause a massive amount of grief, and that it'll tie up some of the sharper minds in the EU for a few years, and that (hopefully) the UK will be outside EU control before any of those awkward tax harmonization rules come into play. They also are quite clear that their right to live/work where the fuck they like will also not be impacted. Most (if not all) have dual nationalities with some small island nation, which in exchange for their generous donations and philanthropic gestures will give them not only a passport, but a diplomatic passport.

          So it doesn't matter how much of a fuck up Brexit is. In fact, for many of those funding Leave, the bigger the mess, the better.

          The problem was (IMHO) that the voting public wasn't paying attention. A referendum (binding or not) is not an effective tool of democracy. It is a tool of autocrats to get a justification to do what they want, while having it as a fig leaf to say "but you asked for it!". And yes, that applies to joining the EU as much as leaving it.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: dichotomy and delay

        "it wasnt such a difficult thing if they would just accept it and commit."

        They are committed. May's objective from the start has been to get out of the ECJ's jurisdiction and this is how it's done.

        "It is almost like their desire to remain is so strong they would burn the country than free it."

        A neat inversion of the truth. The Leavers' desire to leave was such that they would rather burn the country than stay. Thanks for showing us that when it all goes wrong we're going to see the "no true Scotsman" explanation.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: dichotomy and delay

          @ Doctor Syntax

          "They are committed. May's objective from the start has been to get out of the ECJ's jurisdiction and this is how it's done."

          May seems committed to certain aspects (and not all I agree with) but half the party dont want brexit.

          "A neat inversion of the truth. The Leavers' desire to leave was such that they would rather burn the country than stay."

          Aw didums to the bull. We have been forced into the EU and been in its sweet embrace for well over a decade and finally got to choose which gave the answer expected for most of the years we have been trapped in that club. Where were the leavers burning anything? Talk of leaving and 'its the end of western civilisation' and so on with doom doom doom waaaa. FFS the taste of remoaning tears is getting boring now. Any good news is because we are in the EU and any bad because we voted out. Except good news is called bad news and bad news good and idiots view it as honest reason to stay.

          "Thanks for showing us that when it all goes wrong we're going to see the "no true Scotsman" explanation."

          The first part you need to demonstrate is that things are going wrong. Leave voters have achieved that for staying in the EU so go on. Amuse me.

          1. strum

            Re: dichotomy and delay

            >We have been forced into the EU

            Bullshit. The rest of your nonsense derives from that basic pile of dung.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "with the technical capacity to handle 150 million declarations each year, rather than the estimated 255 million"

    Whose leg do they think they are pulling with that one?

    It's not exactly difficult to increase capacity in a system. Just change it to twice the size.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly

      Put the same software on an identical load of kit and ... well run it in parallel. Sure a bit more work reconciling things at the end of the month but the capacity will be there.

      However, they (the wonks in the HMRC) will insist on a single system to do it all. Then there is no chance of it scaling without expensive re-work to increase things like the size of the DB's (a cool million to do that thanks) and a gazillion other things. Then there will be a few more years of testing before it goes live and inevitable falls in a heap after 10 minuites.

      I'll leave it to the esteemed El Reg readership to decide which one is more likely to happen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was going to write a long consider response but decided that

      "You're a fucking idiot with about as much idea of how large systems work as my cat" was still too long so compromised on

      "You're fucking idiot"

      which seemed to cover it quite appropriately.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Go on then, tell me in simple terms why your cat says I can't double the database size, storage, bandwidth and processor (transaction) power (though in effect this wouldn't need doubling just increasing), sure there may be programming changes that need to be made but at these numbers I doubt it (150m to 300m so were not talking about that access database you run for the scouts)

        My dog said it's all well and good calling people names but without substance behind it then you just look like a self sanctimonious prick.

        Hope that explains it for you and your cat.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Go on then, tell me in simple terms why your cat says I can't double the database size, storage, bandwidth and processor (transaction) power

          I just asked my cat, he said "Algorithms dear boy. Taking a system that can handle X number of records, and scaling it to handle 5X number of records does not necessarily mean you can get by with 5 times as much compute power. If the algorithms in play are O(n log n), you will probably need at least 10 times as much compute power; if it is O(n²), you'll probably need 25 times as much compute power"

          Actually, he looked disdainfully at me, and went back to licking his paws.. I'm pretty sure that meant algorithms though.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Thanks, my dog approves of your answer and is grateful. I was aware of that in a round about way.

            However the system in play here is calculating duty which i assume is online and done at point of form submission or run at the end of the day (though it is basic maths, x goods times y cost, obviously you would have to reference the cost (complicated by country) and unit of goods.) therefore the current capacity of 150 million requests could happen at any time of the year so how do they even know it can't handle 255 million as it is? They could even save money and not bother by putting the site into "not accepting anymore requests today" once it hits the daily limit.

            If that is the way it works without any complicated algorithms then my post was valid in increasing capacity but then thinking how people code I can imagine it's probably been implemented all arse about tit with millions of lines of code when a couple of 100,000 would do.

  11. David Harper 1

    On the plus side

    I look forward to the Public Accounts Committee's report, in around five years time, into the utter inability of HMRC's shiny new computer system to cope with the post-Brexit customs sh*tstorm. It should make grimly entertaining reading. And yet another useful case study for courses on why large IT projects fail.

  12. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Brexteers: the people who invented the self flushing loo. Sit down, and after two minutes, it flushes, whether you've finished or not.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Like it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Remainers: the people who invented the always on urinal for when the piss keeps flowing and will never ever stop.

      1. rd232

        Yep

        ...designed for Brexiteers who never cease to take the piss.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scratching my head on 'benefits' of leaving the EU

    So the original idea was that leaving the EU would 'bring back control' and there was that whole 350M/week on the side of Boris' bus.

    Sounds like the starting point to Brexit is going to be a massive cut & paste of EU law into UK law.

    A 'Norway' option sounded interesting but when you dig into it, the concept sounds like EU membership benefits (Common market, customs union, freedom of movement without the hassle of visas), but without voting rights. Which leaves me wondering why not stay?

    (AC, but wishing I could have 'I'll get my coat')

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Scratching my head on 'benefits' of leaving the EU

      A norway solution is better than the alternative, but way worse than our previous agreement. We had an amazing deal.

      Now, we ant get the norway second class agreement for obvious political reasons...so out of eu it is...

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Scratching my head on 'benefits' of leaving the EU

        @Aitor 1: "A norway solution is better than the alternative, but way worse than our previous agreement. We had an amazing deal."

        There will be no Norway-type deal because that would entail allowing freedom of movement to EEA citizens, and we know the "they're taking our jobs" folk don't want any more dirty foreigners coming in mopping our floors or driving our trucks. They don't seem to mind the foreign doctors and nurses working in our hospitals for some reason, although those workers are leaving the sinking ship that is the NHS in record numbers...

    2. SteveCogan

      Re: Scratching my head on 'benefits' of leaving the EU

      Apart from the 'benefit' of Farrage losing his MEP salary when the UK exits the EU.

      http://17909.cdx.c.ooyala.com/t2NTBuNzE65K5-xos_MUEiTX1MnC2RBo/promo303567522

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    may not be complete before Brexit

    what a glorious understatement. It should go more like: "one of the issues MAY be completed before Brexit"!

    ...

    did I just call our glorious leader a MAY?!

  15. CentralCoasty
    Pint

    Stir, stir...

    Just to stir the pot...... (given its a Friday)....

    Switzerland's government recently ignored the results of a referendum (on immigration) following the UK's Article 50 (https://www.thelocal.ch/20170330/how-will-the-brexit-negotiations-affect-switzerland).

    Which does lead us to question whether the government's role is to impose the will of the voters, the will of ALL the people, or even just what is best for the country overall.

    In the Brexit vote the resounding "leavers" were aged 50+. 75% of under 25's voted to remain... so what is it that the younger generation are seeing that the 50+ arent? (Or vica-versa).

    Thinking back to how things were in the 70's & 80's in middle-England - it seemed a period of unrest and shortages combined with wild patriotism..... now in the "teens" whenever I go back to the old country I find the shops laden with exotic foods from everywhere, booze from everywhere....

    Maybe the under 25's having only seen the "good life" are scared that exiting the EU will disrupt their lifestyles? Maybe the over 50's dont give a rats about the obscure Czeck beer/cheese because they wouldnt buy it anyway.

    My parents called the Brexit result "short-sighted". Whilst certainly not pro-EU, having lived through the 30's & WWII they feel that there is a huge benefit beyond those which have been stated by being "in" Europe to being "out". That said my sister and her partner both voted out (and both are in the 50+).

    I just wonder what the view of the next generation will be on the decisions that have been enforced by their older generations.

  16. Jove Bronze badge

    Public Sector Slackers

    Contract out the work to an USA consultancy and it will be done in three months.

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