Funds for U.K. Port Improvements Offered to Prepare for No-Deal Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. government is set to launch a 10 million pound ($12.3 million) grant program designed to help ports prepare for a no-deal Brexit, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Department for Transport will announce a “Port Infrastructure Resilience Call” on Wednesday, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Harbors will be able to bid for grants of as much as 1 million pounds to build inspection facilities and secure areas for loading vehicles as well as purchase desks and gates to speed additional checks that will be needed if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

It’s the latest signal from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that his government is preparing to leave the bloc without securing an agreement. Chancellor Sajid Javid has already set aside billions of pounds to stave off disruption and the government last week announced it would give 9 million pounds to local councils and ports in order for them to prepare for Brexit.

But Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, warned it would be impossible to avoid delays after a no-deal split.

“The industry is as ready as it can be for a ‘no-deal’ although it is clear that this is about mitigating disruption at certain ports, not avoiding it,” Ballantyne said in an email. “We still hope that the U.K. and EU can come to a sensible arrangement ahead of the deadline.”

The Department for Transport declined to comment.

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