The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has authorised £470 million to be spent on infrastructure such as border control posts, and a further £235 million for computer systems and extra staff, including 500 more Border Force personnel.
The announcement comes after the Government said that ‘significant differences’ still remain in Brexit talks between Britain’s negotiator David Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier over the terms of a trade deal, leading to the revived prospect of a No Deal Brexit if the differences are not resolved in the coming weeks.
Michael Gove, above, will announce today he is spending more than £700 million to secure borders after the UK’s Brexit transition period finishes at the end of the year
And it follows a row over a leaked letter from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Mr Gove last week in which she said that plans to phase in customs and health checks for goods imported from the EU over a six-month period risked a rise in smuggling and legal challenges from the World Trade Organisation.
But last night Mr Gove struck an upbeat note, saying the investment would ensure that our borders were secure and the UK was ready to take full advantage of its newly sovereign status.
Mr Gove said: ‘We are taking back control of our borders and leaving the single market and the customs union at the end of this year, bringing both changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.
It follows a row over a leaked letter from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, above, to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Mr Gove last week
‘With or without further agreement with the EU, this £705 million will ensure the infrastructure, tech and border personnel are in place so that our traders and the border industry are able to manage the changes and seize the opportunities as we lay the foundations for the world’s most effective and secure border.’
Sources said that Government officials had been working closely with industry leaders to help them prepare for the changes and would be setting out in detail how the GB-EU border will operate. A new public information campaign will ensure the UK is ‘ready to seize global opportunities at the end of the transition period’.
The Home Secretary will also release more details tomorrow of the points-based immigration system which comes into effect from January 1, including a new visa for health professionals and a new graduate route to allow international students to stay in the UK once they have completed their studies.
Priti Patel said: ‘Now that we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country’s full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system.’