Portsmouth International Port falls foul of 'Tory cronyism' ahead of Brexit, claims Labour MP

THE government has been accused of failing to meet Portsmouth’s needs ahead of the Brexit transition deadline.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 1:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th December 2020, 1:54 pm

On January 1, the Brexit transition period will come to an end, meaning the country will no longer be part of the single market and customs union.

But Portsmouth International Port is facing a shortfall of £8m, after the government provided just two-thirds of the £25m city officials had hoped to receive.

In the House of Commons, shadow cabinet office minister Rachel Reeves questioned the amounts allocated by the government to the UK’s ports in the Port Infrastructure Fund.

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Michael Gove, who visited Portsmouth International Port, was questioned in Westminster about the lack of funding ahead of Brexit. Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images

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Ms Reeves told MPs: ‘The UK’s ports are our gateway to the world. Yesterday the Port Infrastructure Fund was finally announced. Portsmouth faces a shortfall of £8m.

‘Now the minister recently visited that port so he knows its huge importance.

‘So why has the government short-changed vital infrastructure critical to the everyday economy whilst at the same time wasting millions of pounds on consultants and middle-men as part of Tory cronyism?’

Michael Gove replied: ‘The funding in the Port Infrastructure Fund was specifically available for projects which were due to be delivered by July of next year when full import controls will be in place.

‘We are working with Portsmouth International Port.

‘It’s not unique, but certainly singular in that it's owned by the local authority who do a very good job.

‘We are working with MGCLG, DFT and others in order to ensure that not just the port – but also the border infrastructure in Portsmouth – is sufficient for the needs of the port users.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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