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With just 34 working days left before the Brexit transition period ends, Logistics UK has reacted “with incredulity” at an announcement by the government that it had launched a ‘business-led task force’.

Senior cabinet office minister Michael Gove said it was a “challenging time” for businesses and it was determined to support them so that they were ready for 1 January.

The task force has been created to help firms prepare for the UK’s final break with the EU.

But Logistics UK said that with so little time left, companies needed direction and decisions by the government, not more meetings: “With information still needed from the government and decisions required on GB-NI trade, this feels like nothing more than a smokescreen to cover up the government’s lack of focus on the issues which will hit the UK hard come 1 January 2021,” said chief executive David Wells.

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“Logistics businesses have been engaging closely with the government since the election last December to clarify the supply chain issues which will ultimately affect us all.

“After a year of raising our concerns with the government, this new task force feels like nothing more than a diversionary tactic to conceal the administration’s failure to grasp the issues which we and our members have been raising with them for nearly 12 months.”

Wells added: “Logistics businesses remain committed to making Brexit work for the good of the nation, but at this late stage, they need the government to face up to the complexity of the challenges our sector faces to keep Britain trading from the new year.”