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Portsmouth MP calls Government out for delay in funding for Portsmouth Port

Stephen Morgan MP questioned Ministers in the House of Commons today on why the government has still not afforded the alternative funding Portsmouth International Port was promised.

Back in December Michael Gove MP said the government was exploring alternative funding for Portsmouth’s Port, but so far, no such funding has been provided from central government.

Portsmouth International Port applied for £32m of funding in October from the government’s Port Infrastructure Fund, to prepare for new customs arrangements that were originally set to come in this July, allowing it to adapt to the government’s own new Border Operating Model.

However, the city port was only handed £17.1m of what it asked for – leaving a very large of shortfall of almost £15m.

Meanwhile, the government has also so far ignored the port’s further request for funding for the new Border Control Points, and without it, they will have no facility to use to check the 30,000 breeding animals that are expected to come through each year.

Portsmouth’s local authority owned port contributes around £135m to Portsmouth’s local economy, over 1420 local jobs as well as close to £390m to the national economy each year.

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

Whilst it is welcome the government has finally listened to local concerns on the deadline for facilities to be fully ready for the new Border Operating Model, it now needs to make good on its promise for alternative funding.

“Government cannot continue to chronically underfund our local council, but meanwhile expect it to cough up the cash for this huge infrastructure project. It just is not realistic.

“We still have no further clarity from the Minister for EU negotiations, who has the power and influence to resolve this, neither from other government Ministers.

“I will continue to push the government to put its money where its mouth is and back our city’s port as promised.”

Mr Morgan has been working closely with the city port to support its funding needs, writing to Ministers in December demanding further funding for the port to prepare for post-Brexit trade.