Britain’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised the UK Treasury’s potential doubling of no-deal Brexit funding for this year as a “damp squib,” while debate rages as to the country’s preparedness in the event of no agreement being found.
New British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has already pledged the UK will exit ‘do or die’ by 31 October if no consensus can be found on the Withdrawal Agreement setting Britain’s initial relationship with the European Union, to be followed by a Political Declaration outlining the business environment beyond that.
Chancellor, Sajid Javid has unveiled an extra potential GBP2.1bn (US$2.6bn) in funding to prepare for no-deal, bringing the total spent on planning for such a scenario to GBP6.3bn, but preparations for the UK exiting without an agreement have been heavily criticised by the FTA.
“The government’s no-deal funding for business falls well short of what will be required to ensure all those organisations which currently trade with the EU will be able to continue operating smoothly and efficiently in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal,” said FTA deputy chief executive, James 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.”
The Chancellor’s move will see funding possibly doubling with GBP1.1bn being provided to departments and the devolved administrations immediately and a further GBP1bn made available, should it be needed.
The funding will be used for border and customs operations, critical medical supplies, support for UK nationals abroad and an awareness campaign to ensure the public and businesses are ready to leave the EU
“With 92 days until the UK leaves the European Union it’s vital we intensify our planning to ensure we are ready,” added Javid.
“We want to get a good deal that abolishes the anti-democratic backstop. But if we can’t get a good deal, we’ll have to leave without one. This additional GBP2.1bn will ensure we are ready to leave on 31 October – deal or no deal.”