The government has announced an £705 million funding package for border infrastructure, jobs and technology to ensure the border is operational after the end of the Brexit transition period.
The new funding will include up to £470 million to build the port and inland infrastructure needed to ensure compliance with new customs procedures and controls. The government is taking exceptional action to build new border infrastructure inland where there is no space at ports. Where ports have space to build on site they will get one-off financial support to ensure the right infrastructure is in place.
The government said it had been intensively engaging with industry in recent months to ensure the processes and the infrastructure is fit for purpose.
The announcement also includes a £235 million investment in staffing and IT systems. This includes:
- £10 million to recruit around 500 more Border Force personnel and £20 million for new equipment
- More than £100 million to develop HMRC systems to reduce the burden on traders, alongside additional investment in technology to ensure that new controls can be fully implemented in the “Roll On, Roll Off” environment;
- £15 million to build new data infrastructure to enhance border management and flow
This package is on top of the £84 million already provided in grants to ensure there is sufficient capacity in the customs intermediary sector to support traders. This funding will support intermediaries through increased recruitment, training, and by supplying IT equipment to help handle customs declarations.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said: “We are taking back control of our borders, and leaving the single market and the customs union at the end of this year bringing both changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.
“With or without further agreement with the EU, this £705 million will ensure that the necessary infrastructure, tech and border personnel are in place so that our traders and the border industry are able to manage the changes and seize the opportunities as we lay the foundations for the world’s most effective and secure border.”
On 1 January 2021 the transition period with the European Union will end and the UK will leave the single market and customs union, regardless of the agreement the UK reaches with the European Union on its future trade relationship. The government has been working closely with industry to help them prepare for these changes and will shortly be publishing the Border Operating Model setting out in detail how the GB-EU border will operate.