Extra Brexit funding may have limited impact

Port of Dover Local authorities in Kent, covering the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel, Ashford and Ebbsfleet, will receive over GB£2.6m. Image: Port of Dover

An extra GB£9m will be made available to ensure local areas and major ports are ready for Brexit, the UK government has announced, but a trade association has cast doubt over how many more preparations can be made before 31 October.

GB£5m will be given to local councils which either have or are near to a major air, land or sea port with the aim of ensuring they will continue to operate efficiently when the UK leaves the EU on the planned date of 31 October. The funding allocation comes after leaked government documents revealed that delays of up to three months are predicted at British ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The remaining GB£4m will be shared out to local resilience forums (LRFs). The extra funding follows the allocation of GB£20m for councils, announced earlier this month. In February, the government said that 19 UK local authorities with a major port would receive a share of GB£3.14m.

However, Tim Morris, chief executive of UKMPG, said: “Extra funding for the often hard pressed Local Authorities in port areas is welcome. But we should be realistic about the degree of significant change that’s possible between now and the end of October. Support for Local Authorities in these areas also needs to be ongoing, to ensure we’re strategically developing the strength of the UK’s main global gateways for trade for the long term.”

He stated the “announcement on extra funding doesn’t address the main issue facing Brexit preparedness – trader readiness” but added that the UKMPG welcomed the additional announcement of an automatic process of enrolling traders for international trader customs numbers as part of improving trader readiness.

As Kent is the home county for the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel, Ashford and Ebbsfleet, local authorities there will receive over GB£2.6m.

Kent County Council will receive GB£1m and GB£1.6m will be shared between a further 13 local authorities in the county.

The allocations have been based on factors including the expected impact on the local area, the amount of EU goods received by port areas into the country and the areas wider importance to the UK’s trade network.

The government said the total funding allocated by the government to help local areas prepare for Brexit is GB£77m to date.

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