The United Kingdom to Spend 775 Million Euros on Border Controls


The Brexit transition period ends December 31st, and as of January 1st 2021, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the European Customs Union. This means the borders between the United Kingdom and EU member states will no longer be open, and there will be no more free movement of people and goods.

Border Preparations

The United Kingdom will invest 775 million Euros (705 million Pounds) on new border infrastructure, to enable border checks.

The BBC reports:

The new funding will include up to £470m to build port and inland infrastructure, and £235m will be allocated for IT systems and staffing.

The money for IT and staffing includes:

£100m to develop HM Revenue and Customs systems to reduce the burden on traders

£20m on new equipment

£15m towards building new data infrastructure to improve border flow and management

£10m to recruit around 500 more Border Force staff.

Bloomberg reports:

The government’s new border arrangements will focus on smart infrastructure, Gove said, without elaborating further.

The government has purchased a 27-acre site about 20 miles (32 kilometres) from the port of Dover for “holding” delayed goods vehicles, The Guardian reported Friday. “It’s not the intention to create a massive concrete lorry park,” Gove told the BBC.

Later this month the UK Government will disclose the plans for the border with Ireland. If there will be checks there, is not yet clear. There are mixed signals, with Boris Johnson stating there will be no checks, and Michael Gove stating there will be some simple processes in place.

Truss Deeply Concerned About Johnson’s Border Plans

At first, the UK Government had plans to have strict border controls in place immediately after Brexit. Businesses in the UK protested this, as this would put a huge burden on them. Many are already struggling with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bloomberg reported last week:

For the first half of next year, most firms moving goods into Britain will get six months to file customs declarations and pay any tariffs due whether the U.K.and the European Union reach a trade accord or not, the government said in a statement on Friday.

With just six months left until Britain finally leaves the bloc, businesses have been struggling to recruit a fraction of the 50,000 customs agents the transport industry says are necessary to prevent snarl-ups at the country’s ports once Britain leaves the bloc’s single market and customs union. Without enough agents, goods traveling to and from the EU are at risk of being delayed at ports.

UK’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has expressed deep concerns about the plans Boris Johnson has for the first six months of 2021. A letter she wrote about these concerns was leaked to Business Insider. The main points:

Truss said the plans could create a series of logistical, political, and reputational risks for the government, including:

  • A legal challenge from the World Trade Organisation.
  • Increased smuggling from the EU if not all UK ports are ready to carry out checks.
  • Concerns over the union if EU tariffs are applied to all goods heading to Northern Ireland by "default."
  • The undermining of the UK's international trade policy.

Truss also said she was worried that the legality of the UK's plan for a phased approach to checks on goods coming from the EU from January to July could be challenged at the WTO.

She said the UK would "be vulnerable to a WTO challenge" because of its border policy. This is because the UK plans to temporarily give the EU preferential treatment, which could be a breach of WTO rules if there is no UK-EU free-trade agreement in place.

Read the full article here.

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