The government has allocated £2.1 billion for preparations for a no-deal Brexit on 31st October, focusing on border operations and critical supplies.
Chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid said: “This additional £2.1 billion will ensure we are ready to leave on 31 October – deal or no deal.”
There will be £434 million made available to help ensure continuity of medicines and medical products, including through freight capacity, warehousing and stockpiling.
And £344 million will be spent on border and customs operations, including:
– 500 additional border force officers.
– Improvements to transport infrastructure around ports and additional funding for Operation Brock to manage traffic disruption in Kent.
– Doubling the support made available for customs agents to train new staff or invest in better IT.
– Increasing capacity to process UK passport applications this year.
Some £108 million will be spent on support for businesses to help prepare for Brexit.
And £138 million will be spent on an information campaign to encourage businesses and people to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
In addition to the £1.1 billion immediate funding, a further £1 billion will be available if necessary. It brings government spending on Brexit up to £6.3 billion including £4.6bn this year.
* The Freight Transport Association was unimpressed: “The government’s No Deal funding for business, announced today (1 August 2019), falls well short of what will be required to ensure that all those organisations which currently trade with the EU will be able to continue operating smoothly and efficiently in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal,” said deputy chief executive James Hookham.
“Five per cent of the fund allocated by the Treasury today equates to only £745 per business – far less than will be needed for each business to understand and implement the procedures, staff and systems required for routine No Deal trading.
“The allowances announced may enable the government to say they have helped business, but the reality once again leaves logistics operators carrying the burden of adapting to and adopting new operating procedures at the last minute (many of the industry’s issues are still to be answered by government), and potentially carrying the can for a lack of government planning. Industry deserves and needs the appropriate boost, rather than the damp squib promised today,” said Hookham.
* The Road Haulage Association welcomed the chancellor’s move but warned it would be a tall order to get businesses ready and new border staff recruited and trained in time for 31 October.
“This is big picture and what we badly need is detail. We need a complete, practical how-to guide to ensure traders know what they have to do to get across the borders after Brexit,” said chief executive Richard Burnett.