Today, the government has announced a £705m funding package in infrastructure, jobs and technology to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK leaves the European Union at the end of the year.
The new funding will include up to £470m to build the port and inland infrastructure needed to ensure compliance with new customs procedures and controls, and take the UK’s border facilities to the next level. The government is taking 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 has been engaging with industry leaders in recent months to ensure that the processes introduced and the infrastructure developed is fit for purpose.
Today’s announcement also includes a £235m investment in staffing and IT systems. This includes:
- £10m to recruit around 500 more Border Force personnel and £20m for new equipment so they can continue to keep our country safe and secure;
- More than £100m 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;
- £15m to build new data infrastructure to enhance border management.
This package is on top of the £84m 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. That is why we are announcing this major package of investment today.
“With or without further agreement with the EU, this £705m 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.
This major funding package comes ahead of the launch of a new public information campaign to ensure the UK is ready to seize global opportunities at the end of the transition period. As part of this campaign, detailed guidance will be given to traders and hauliers explaining what they may need to do to prepare for the end of the transition period.