UK government invests £705 million to fund new border infrastructure and management23 Jul 2020
The transition period for the UK out of the EU will end on January 1, 2021, and with it will come the end of a the single market and customs union. To prepare for the exit and maintain trading relations with the EU, the UK government is investing £705 million (US$889 million) into new infrastructure, jobs and technology for its border.
Investment funding will complement the £84 million (US$106 million) in grant funding that the government has already funneled into this transition project to ensure that there is sufficient customs capacity come January.
This new funding will be broken out between various divisions in order to increase infrastructure and labor capacity in several sectors that are integral to keeping trade relations humming along. According to the UK government website, £235 million (US$296 million) will go toward staffing and IT, including more Border Force personnel and equipment; new data infrastructure; and systems to reduce manual customs checks in favor of more reliance on technology. The other £470 million will go toward building infrastructure such as border control posts.
“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,” says Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove.
Coming up with a plan to continue trade without bottlenecks will be important to keep the international supply chain going as there has been widespread concern surrounding the potential delays at UK ports due to lack of space and processing capacity for shipments. Avoiding delays becomes particularly for trade with the EU as it is the largest trading partner of the UK. According to FoodDrinkEurope, the 2018 trade value of food and drink with the EU was €47.5 billion (US$51.5 billion).
Regardless of whether this infrastructure is implemented or if the UK reaches an agreement with the European Union on future trade relations, the UK will leave the EU on Dec. 31.
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