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No-deal Brexit ferry contract sparks concerns

No-deal Brexit ferry contract sparks concerns

Business
Concerns have been raised over the readiness of a British firm contracted by the government to run extra ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Seaborne Freight was awarded a £13.8m contract this week to run a freight service between Ramsgate and Ostend. The firm has never run a ferry service and a local councillor said it would be impossible to launch before Brexit.The government said it had awarded the contract in "the full knowledge that Seaborne is a new shipping provider".The Department for Transport said that "the extra capacity and vessels would be provided as part of its first services"."As with all contracts, we carefully vetted the company's commercial, technical and financial position in detail before making the award," it added. Conse...
UK to spend £108m on no-deal ferries

UK to spend £108m on no-deal ferries

Business
The UK will spend more than £100m chartering extra ferries to ease "severe congestion" at Dover, in the case of a no-deal Brexit.Over the last few months, additional ferry contracts were awarded to French, Danish and British companies.The contingency plans allow for almost 4,000 more lorries a week to come and go from other ports, including Plymouth, Poole, and Portsmouth.The UK Chamber of Shipping said customs procedures were a bigger problem.Chief executive Bob Sanguinetti said: "Government is rightly preparing for every eventuality... but it is not clear that government-chartered ships can move goods faster or more efficiently than the private sector.""Those goods will still need to go through the same customs procedures in ports - which is where...
Firms told to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Firms told to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Business
Businesses that trade with the EU need to take steps now to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, a government minister has warned.Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride told the BBC's Today programme "there is a call to action now".HMRC has published an update to its advice on how firms should prepare for a no-deal scenario.However, Mr Stride called the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal an "unlikely event".Speaking to the BBC, Mr Stride said: "The time is now, there is a call to action now. "Those who are importing or exporting into and out of the EU 27, in the unlikely event that there is a no-deal at the end of March, will need to take certain steps. They need to do that now."Mr Stride said businesses needed to "get a ...
Pound slides amid fears over no-deal Brexit

Pound slides amid fears over no-deal Brexit

Business
The pound has fallen sharply against the US dollar on renewed worries about the political turbulence around Brexit. Sterling slipped by more than a cent to less than $ 1.29 during overnight trading on Asian markets and the declines were extended later as London opened, taking the currency close to $ 1.28 and about 1% lower on the day.It came amid weekend reports that more ministers were on the verge of quitting the government and added to falls for the currency at the end of last week, before which the pound had been trading at more than $ 1.31.Sterling has been gripped by volatility amid uncertainty about whether the UK will leave the EU next March without a trade deal in place.Credit ratings agency Moody's said on Monday that the risk of a no-deal withdrawal had risen. ...
Philip Hammond: No-deal Brexit would require new Budget

Philip Hammond: No-deal Brexit would require new Budget

Business
The government will set a new Budget if it is unable to reach a Brexit deal with the EU, the chancellor has said.Philip Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would require a "different response", with "fiscal buffers" being maintained to provide support for the economy.Mr Hammond was speaking on the eve of his Budget, which he will present to the Commons on Monday.He also hinted at more funds for the universal credit rollout, after claims that millions of homes will lose money.The spending plans take place at a time of uncertainty over Brexit, with no deal in place five months before the UK's departure date.Questioned about the impact of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Hammond told Sky News' Ridge on Sunday programme: "We would need to look at a di...