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‘Portsmouth’s businesses need certainty’ – Shadow Business Minister following Portsmouth Port tour with local MP

Stephen Morgan MP visited Portsmouth International Port (PIP) with Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson MP today, to tour the new trade facilities being built to adapt to Britain’s new post-Brexit trading arrangements. The facilities are being established thanks to lobbying by the city MP and others to central government.

During their visit, the Shadow Minister for Business and Industry and Portsmouth South MP met with the Port’s Director, Mike Sellers, and his leadership team, to discuss the continuing challenges Portsmouth and wider industry face to meet the requirements for the government’s new Border Operating Model.

Both MPs were also updated on the port’s 20-year business development plan, followed by a tour of the new Border Control Points (BCPs).

PIP (owned and operated by Portsmouth City Council) applied for £32m of funding in October 2020 from the government’s Port Infrastructure Fund, to prepare for new customs arrangements.

Mr Morgan tirelessly lobbied Ministers making the case for the city’s port and the need for full investment from central government to avoid disruption and delay.

However, the city port was only handed £17.1m of what it asked for – leaving a very large of shortfall of at least £7m and many businesses dependent on the port in the dark.

PIP contributes £189m to the local economy annually, as well as roughly 2410 in the local area, either through direct employment or supply chain.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“I’m delighted to welcome the Shadow Business Minister to Portsmouth today to hear first-hand the opportunities and challenges our city’s port faces and how the team are adapting to new trading arrangements, as well their plans for the future.

“Portsmouth International Port plays a critical role in our city’s economy, providing hundreds of jobs for local people, whilst also making a significant contribution to our country’s trade.

“That’s why I am proud of my efforts to help secure the investment it needs to continue to flourish and thrive.

“Tory ministers cannot continue to neglect important assets like Portsmouth International Port and fail to provide businesses dependent on its success with the certainty they need.”

Shadow Business and Industry Minister, Bill Esterson MP, also said:

“It’s been a brilliant visit to Portsmouth. I am very impressed by the work that Stephen and many other people have been doing to protect this vital asset for our country.

“Low growth, high taxes and high inflation are undermining businesses and consumers, but many in Portsmouth have been left as an afterthought because of the Conservative Government’s failure to offer any plan or support.

“We can only achieve our ambitions for Britain with a plan which creates the economic conditions for businesses to succeed.

“Labour’s plan will help consumers and businesses with lower energy bills. We oppose the Conservative National Insurance jobs tax which the Conservatives want to introduce in April. And we will scrap business rates. Our plan will invest in businesses Portsmouth and enable them and the community they serve to thrive.”