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Saturday, October 12, 2019

A further £87 million cost to a no-deal Brexit

Eighty Seven Million pounds is small potatoes when it comes to UK Government expenditure but to ordinary people (and smaller administrations such as local government and even the Welsh Assembly) it is a fortune.

So when we learn that the latest contract to prepare us for crashing out of the EU without a deal has that price tag attached to it, it is worth reflecting on how that money could be better spent if we instead took the best deal available to us and stayed in the European Community.

As the Guardian reports, the government has now signed contracts worth almost £87m with four ferry companies to help ensure the supply of vital medicines in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal:

The Department for Transport (DfT) said Brittany Ferries, DFDS, P&O and Stena Line would be ready to deliver capacity equivalent to thousands of heavy goods vehicles a week from the 31 October Brexit deadline. The four firms will operate on 13 routes from eight UK ports that are less likely to face disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit: Teesport, Hull, Killingholme, Felixstowe, Harwich, Tilbury, Portsmouth and Poole.

The six-month contracts are worth as much as £86.6m to the ferry operators. If the extra capacity is not needed, including under a negotiated Brexit deal, the government will pay the companies up to £11.5m in termination fees.

Before the previous Brexit deadline of 29 March the government signed deals worth £89m with Brittany and DFDS to secure ferry space in the case of no deal. Cancelling those contracts cost £43.8m plus other costs that took the bill to more than £50m.

Under the previous transport secretary Chris Grayling the government also scrapped a £14m contract with a company after it emerged it had no ferries.

The much lower termination fees raise further questions about the original deal signed by the government. The DfT said it had minimised the potential costs of cancellation this time through a competitive bidding process.

So much money wasted by the incompetence of this government and in pursuit of the lies that underlined the original Brexit campaign. Surely somebody should be held accountable for this mess.
Any cost of Brexit should be widely advertised to point out the cost of this fiasco AND where that money could be spent otherwise.
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