Portsmouth demands extra no-deal Brexit cash as MP accuses Boris Johnson government of 'regime of uncertainty'

UNANSWERED demands for cash to pay for no-deal Brexit traffic contingency plans have caused a ‘regime of uncertainty’.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 3:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 5:17 pm
Land at Tipner West in Portsmouth where preparations are being made in the event of a no-deal Brexit in case it affects Portsmouth port. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

Portsmouth City Council expects to fork out £4m in a bid to stop possible delays at the authority-owned port gridlocking the city and large parts of south Hampshire.

A lorry park at Tipner in the scheme has nearly doubled in cost to about £1m, up from a projected £600,000.

The government announced £2.1bn of funding on Wednesday for a no-deal Brexit – including extra customs officers – but there has been no confirmation of cash for the city.

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Land at Tipner West in Portsmouth where preparations are being made in the event of a no-deal Brexit in case it affects Portsmouth port. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

Politicians and planners have been battling with the Department for Transport for funding with the government department paying up £345,000.

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Plans are in place to have checkpoints on the A31 at Winchester and at the £1m lorry park at Tipner of the M275.

They were put on hold when Brexit was delayed for a second time from March 29 - but have come back into play with prime minister Boris Johnson's vow to leave the European Union by October 31.

Taking to Twitter, council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'In Portsmouth we run the second busiest cross channel ferry port in the UK.

'Government plans to recruit new customs officers if there is a no-deal Brexit will have no effect as the hold ups are going to be getting UK exports into Europe, not the other way around.'

Authorities involved in the Hampshire Local Resilience Forum want government transport bosses to agree with their traffic modelling, arguing backed up lorries will block the M275 and M27.

It's understood DfT is currently looking at Kent's traffic plans, and will next look at the city's.

In a statement issued before the extra funding announcement, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: 'I have written countless letters to the Department for Transport, the Brexit Department and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

‘The answers have been chaotic, disorganised and inconsistent and have demonstrated a complete lack of understanding for Portsmouth’s unique situation. Today I have asked for an end to this regime of uncertainty.

‘I have demanded information on what reimbursement mechanism to recover the future costs of no-deal Brexit is in place, which department will be reimbursing our city and how much we will be getting. We need answers to these questions now.’

Asked about criticisms made, a Treasury spokesman referred The News to its £2.1bn announcement.