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UK government makes £9M available to assist ports' Brexit preparations

An extra £9M will be made available to ensure local areas and major ports are ready for Brexit; Peel Ports announces AEO status

A total of £5M will be given to local councils that either have or are near to a major air, land or sea port to ensure they will continue to operate efficiently when the UK leaves the EU on 31 October, stated the Minister, Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP.

The remaining £4M will be shared out to local resilience forums (LRFs), partnerships made up of representatives from local public services, across England to support them in their preparations.

The funding can be used by local areas to support the development of robust Brexit plans for their areas and for continued preparedness activities, including additional staffing costs.

The extra funding follows a £20M boost for councils announced in August to ramp-up preparations for leaving the EU by appointing a designated Brexit lead. This brings the total funding allocated by the government to help local areas prepare for Brexit to £77M to date.

Jenrick said: "From keeping our supply chains running and ensuring goods continue to flow into the country, to putting robust plans in place for every community, local government is playing a vital role in preparing the country to be fully ready to leave the EU on 31 October.

"We have stepped up our preparedness significantly in recent weeks, including by asking every council to appoint a Brexit Lead Officer. Now we are releasing an additional £9 million of additional funding today to help local areas get ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances."

Local authorities in Kent will receive over £2.6M in recognition of the county being home to a number of the significant and busiest ports in the area including the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel, Ashford and Ebbsfleet.

Kent County Council will receive £1M, and £1.6M will be shared between a further 13 local authorities in the county.

The allocations have been based on a number of factors including the expected impact on the local area, the amount of EU goods received by port areas into the country and the areas wider importance to the UK’s trade network.

Peel Ports, which has received AEO status, is looking to increased Americas trades over Liverpool
Peel Ports, which has received AEO status, is looking to increased Americas trades over Liverpool

The announcement was given a cautious welcome by Tim Morris, Chief Executive of the UK Major Ports Group, a member of the government’s newly-appointed Freeports Advisory Panel.

“Extra funding for the often hard pressed Local Authorities in port areas is welcome," he said, "but we should be realistic about the degree of significant change that’s possible between now and the end of October. Support for Local Authorities in these areas also needs to be ongoing, to ensure we’re strategically developing the strength of the UK’s main global gateways for trade for the long term.

"We welcome the additional announcement of an automatic process of enrolling traders for international trader customs numbers as part of improving trader readiness, something UKMPG has been calling for.”

In that vein, Peel Ports Group has announced it has been officially accredited with Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status at all its principal Great Britain ports by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customers.

The Liverpool-based port operator said that achieving AEO status is a “significant milestone” especially on the path towards Brexit.

The following ports are covered: Clydeport Operations, Port of Sheerness, Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Manchester Ship Canal Company and Great Yarmouth Port Company.

The accreditation recognises that a business’ customs controls and procedures are efficient and meet EU benchmarks to safeguard goods passing through the international supply chain.

“Securing AEO status across our ports is a significant milestone and allows us to continue trading as efficiently as possible with Europe," said Peel Ports Group CEO Mark Whitworth. "These standards provide our customers with increased peace of mind that we are taking a business as usual approach. Crucially we now have the ability to minimise any dwell time across our network to avoid unnecessary disruption.

“While none of us know what a post-Brexit environment will look like, we have taken assured steps to minimise any friction at our ports to keep our customers cargoes moving smoothly. Our UK port network is ideally positioned and has the relevant infrastructure to ensure we continue to trade successfully with Europe, the Americas and beyond.”

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