No-deal Brexit funding “a damp squib”

No-deal Brexit funding “a damp squib”

The Government’s no-deal funding boost for business falls short of what will be required and it still faces a huge challenge to prepare businesses in time for October 31, industry groups from across the freight and logistics sector have warned.

It follows Chancellor Sajid Javid’s announcement yesterday of a further £2.1bn to ”turbo-charge” no-deal Brexit preparations. Funding will be used for border and customs operations, critical medical supplies, and an awareness campaign to ensure the public and businesses are ready to leave the EU. 

Funding includes: 

  • £344 million to help get new border and customs operations ready, including an extra 500 border force officers; improving transport infrastructure around ports and additional funding for ‘Operation Brock’; and enhancing support available on government helplines.
  • £434 million to help ensure continuity of medicines and medical products, including through freight capacity, warehousing and stockpiling.
  • £108 million available to promote and support businesses to ensure they are ready for Brexit, including a national programme of business readiness and helping exporters to “prepare for, and capitalise on, new opportunities”.
  • £138 million to boost public communications, including a new information campaign to help people and businesses get ready to leave on 31 October.

James Hookham, Deputy CEO of the FTA, said the funding for business falls well short of what will be required to ensure that all those organisations which currently trade with the EU will be able to continue operating smoothly and efficiently in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

“5% of the fund allocated by the Treasury today equates to only £745 per business – far less than will be needed for each business to understand and implement the procedures, staff and systems required for routine No Deal trading,” continued Hookham.  

“The allowances announced may enable the government to say they have helped business, but the reality once again leaves logistics operators carrying the burden of adapting to and adopting new operating procedures at the last minute (many of the industry’s issues are still to be answered by government), and potentially carrying the can for a lack of government planning.  Industry deserves and needs the appropriate boost, rather than the damp squib promised today.”

The Road Haulage Association said the government still faces a huge challenge to prepare business in time for a no-deal Brexit.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said that action from the Government is welcome but warned that it’ll be a tall order to get businesses ready and new border staff recruited and trained in time for 31 October.

“This is big picture and what we badly need is detail. We need a complete, practical how-to guide to ensure traders know what they have to do to get across the borders after Brexit.”