THE leader of Southampton City Council says that Portsmouth needs more funding for its port, amid fears over the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Councillor Christopher Hammond has written to the secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling MP, saying that Portsmouth’s port presents ‘a much higher risk than Southampton' in the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal.
The news comes after the government gave twice as much money to Southampton for its post-Brexit planning.
In his letter, Cllr Hammond said: ‘While we do not expect the port of Southampton to be as severely affected, there is nevertheless the potential for disruption at one of the UK’s premier points of entry for non-EU goods.
‘The fact that Portsmouth is rated by all agencies as a much higher risk than Southampton, yet has been allocated half as much funding, indicates that the government has not heeded the advice that has been repeatedly provided by local partners about the unique risk arising from disruption at Portsmouth Port.’
The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, says that the letter speaks volumes about the issues Portsmouth would face with a no-deal Brexit.
He said: ‘Southampton was given twice as much as Portsmouth in the last round of government funding.
‘It’s incredible that we are having to rely on support from Southampton City Council rather than our own MPs.
‘Penny Mordaunt’s position gives her a lot of influence to get this done, but it feels like the government isn’t interested in helping us.
‘We hope that the government will listen and provide the swift funding we need to deal with the potentially serious impact that Brexit could have on the local and national transport system.’
Cllr Hammond added: ‘We are working closely with neighbouring authorities to prepare for the regional impacts of Brexit, and it is widely recognised that the port of Portsmouth could see potentially significant traffic impacts in the event of a no-deal scenario.’
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt says that a no-deal is looking increasingly unlikely, with the potential for Article 50 to be extended.
She said: ‘I’ve been working very constructively with Portsmouth City Council officers, making representations on their behalf to the Department for Transport and have secured some funds to help the port with preparations.
‘The Department for Transport is using the council's own data to plan and prepare and will provide all necessary support.’