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Ports: New Trading Arrangements

Volume 690: debated on Thursday 11 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. (913233)

The Government continue to deliver wide-ranging support measures to British ports, including unprecedented levels of direct funding such as grants.

Ministers continue to withhold the vital funds needed for Portsmouth international port to complete the post-Brexit infrastructure mandated by the Government’s own border-operating model. With full customs checks coming in July, what steps is the Minister taking to secure the vital funding needed to ensure that our local authority-owned port remains competitive and prosperous, and that the chaos we saw at Dover in December does not become a reality in my city?

As a general rule, the “user pays” principle applies, so the Government would expect ports to pay for improvements themselves, but the Government have taken an unprecedented approach through the ports infrastructure fund to support as many ports as possible with grants. Portsmouth was awarded more than £17 million, which is the third-largest amount awarded to any port and is extremely significant funding. The hon. Gentleman’s city is, of course, part of the successful Solent freeport bid, which I am sure he welcomes.