Haulage bosses have warned the extra £2.1bn funding for a no-deal Brexit announced by the UK government will not be enough to keep supply chains running smoothly.
Chancellor Sajid Javid has announced £1.1bn to prepare critical areas for Brexit and said a further £1bn was available “to enhance operational preparedness this year if needed”.
But both the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) have cast doubt on whether the spending will be enough to avoid huge supply chain pain.
Javid said the funding would accelerate preparations at the border, support business readiness and ensure the supply of critical medicines.
It will also be used to provide support for UK nationals abroad and an awareness campaign to ensure the public and businesses are ready to leave the EU.
The Treasury said Brexit preparation spending had now risen to £6.3bn, including £4.2bn funding this financial year alone.
Javid said: “If we can’t get a good deal, we’ll have to leave without one. This additional £2.1bn will ensure we are ready to leave on 31 October – deal or no deal.”
Some £344m of the funding will be spent helping to get new border and customs operations ready.
This will include an extra 500 border force officers, improved transport infrastructure around ports and additional funding for Operation Brock to manage traffic disruption in Kent.
A total of £434m will go towards ensuring continuity of vital medicines and medical products, including warehousing and stockpiling.
A further £1bn is available for departments and the devolved administrations, which will have to submit bids to the Treasury if they require funding.
But James Hookham, deputy CEO of the FTA, said the funding for business fell “well short of what will be required”.
He said the funding allocated by the Treasury would only amount to £745 per business.
This would be “far less than will be needed for each business to understand and implement the procedures, staff and systems required for routine no-deal trading”, he said.
“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.”
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett welcome the funding but warned that it would 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,” he said.
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