LONDON, UK - The British government on Sunday announced a £705 million funding package for border infrastructure, jobs and technology to ensure the country's border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the 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, and take the UK's border facilities to the next level. The government says it 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.
Sunday's announcement also includes a £235 million investment in staffing and IT systems.
£10 million is to recruit around 500 more Border Force personnel and £20 million for new equipment.
More than £100 million will be used 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 will be spent on building new data infrastructure to enhance border management and flow.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said Sunday:
"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 £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 says it has been working closely with industry to help them prepare for the changes and will shortly be publishing the Border Operating Model setting out in detail how the GB-EU border will operate.
"Four years after we made the decision to leave the EU, the reasons for moving are stronger than ever. Taking back control of our economy means we can put in place the right measures for our Covid recovery," Gove said separately in an op-ed in The Telegraph.
"Taking back control of the money we send to Brussels means we can spend it on our priorities: investing in the NHS, spreading opportunity more equally across the UK and strengthening our Union. We can build a trading relationship with our European neighbours that serves all our interests and develop new economic partnerships across the world."
"The deal the prime minister struck last year, and which the country backed in the general election, ensured we left the EU in January and means we can look forward with confidence to the end of the transition period on December 31. But, just like a house move, we need to make sure all the practical arrangements for our new future are in place," Gove said.