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Ports: New Trading Arrangements

Volume 691: debated on Thursday 25 March 2021

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of support for ports adapting to new trading arrangements since the end of the transition period. (913895)

The port infrastructure fund is granting £200 million of public funding to ports to build facilities required for border controls, which will now come into effect on 1 January 2022, while checks on live animals, low-risk plants and plant products will come in from 1 March next year. The delay to the introduction of controls announced this month allows more time for accreditation in operational testing of those facilities.

Ministers continue to withhold vital funds needed for Portsmouth International Port to build post-Brexit livestock inspection points, yet other inland sites have been fully funded by Government. The absence of this control post threatens trade worth £10 million per year to local authority-controlled ports. Can the Minister tell the House why she is picking winners when it comes to post-Brexit trade and whether she will deliver on the long overdue promise to explore alternative funding?

We are not picking winners on the issue of facilities. The port infrastructure fund is an investment that ports do not have to make themselves, and Portsmouth has received £17 million. The hon. Gentleman may interested to know that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is undertaking a review of facilities that will be needed at border control posts, including facilities for live animals, in advance of March next year to see whether the size and scope of the facilities have changed. We will continue to engage with Portsmouth, as I have been. I have had several meetings with representatives there, but with the change in import controls, there will now be more time to deliver and build these facilities, and we hope that this time proves useful.