HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 c783W
Mr. Baldry

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what hours Her Majesty's Customs and Excise will be working over the Christmas and New Year period 1999–2000; and if those hours differ from arrangements in previous years. [98045]

Dawn Primarolo

The Department expects to have staff on duty round the clock throughout the Christmas and Millennium holidays. The levels of staffing will be determined locally by managers who will judge the relative level of risk from smuggling or other forms of evasion. There is no reason to expect the levels of attendance at Christmas to be different from previous years except where changes to traffic or other local factors have led to changes of risk.

Special arrangements have been made for the Millennium holidays. Some 350–400 staff attendances will take place during the holidays to ensure IT and building systems are working correctly. For operational staff the numbers of staff on duty will be determined throughout the period by local managers again according to perceptions of risk and other needs. Managers will make these judgments taking into account the plans of shipping/airline companies to ensure that staffing levels are kept to the minimum necessary to meet the risk.