The announcement of a £705 million funding package to manage Britain’s borders post-Brexit has been defended by Michael Gove.
While Labour accuse the government of being woefully unprepared for the country’s departure from the EU customs union at the end of the year, Gove insisted that the party had been "laying the groundwork for months".
Rachel Reeves of the Labour party, said that the plans were "too little, too late." She continued that: "We were promised an oven-ready deal but it looks like the government forgot to turn the oven on.”
In a statement, Gove said: "With or without further agreement with the EU, this £705 million will ensure that the necessary 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."
The announcement follows a leaked letter from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, in which she voiced her concern that the UK was not ready for Brexit.
The new border ports are to be created inland, accommodating for the fact that many existing ports do not have room to expand for the extra checks required. The checks apply to external borders of Scotland, England, and Wales. The plan for Northern Ireland will be developed “later this month” according to Gove.
While the UK formally left the EU on 31 January this year, it is now subject to an 11-month transition period, during which the existing trading rules and membership of the customs union continue to apply.