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No Agreement with the EU: Preparedness

Volume 682: debated on Thursday 22 October 2020

What recent progress his Department has made on its preparedness in the event that there is no agreement on future relations with the EU after the transition period. (907940)

Our priority is to ensure that road and air transport continue to operate between the UK and the EU. We are making extensive preparations to ensure good flows and, as I mentioned, I am off to Kent immediately after I finish at the Dispatch Box to update on progress.

The Republic of Ireland is preparing by creating new port facilities and supporting new direct ferry routes to Europe. Rather than seeking to turn Kent into a car park or sustaining south-east ports that can never materialise, would it not be more appropriate to provide the resources to ensure that new routes and port and ferry facilities can be established both in Scotland and north-east England?

I find myself in considerable agreement with the hon. Gentleman. We have a curious situation where an awful lot of goods passage through the so-called short straits from Dover, but that is not by any means the only port in this country. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ports. He might have missed it, but I recently launched the £200 million port infrastructure fund to further boost the capacity of ports around the country, and that is in addition to the large amount of additional infrastructure spending that has been put in place over the past few years as we have got closer to the end of the transition period.