Boris Johnson commits $637 million to Northern Ireland Brexit red tape

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly said there would be no checks on goods being traded between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after Brexit.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly said there would be no checks on goods being traded between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after Brexit.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Boris Johnson's government pledged 355 million pounds (S$637.5 million) to ensure companies can complete the paperwork needed for trade to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK after Brexit, just nine months after the prime minister promised there would be no border controls.

A Trader Support Service, backed with 200 million pounds from the Treasury, will complete the declarations needed on goods crossing to Northern Ireland from England, Scotland and Wales, the Cabinet Office said in an emailed statement.

A further 155 million pounds will be spent on developing technology to streamline the process.

"Our new free-to-use Trader Support Service will provide vital support and guidance to traders," Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said in the statement.

"As we continue to engage with businesses and our discussions with the EU proceed, we will update these resources to ensure that traders are ready for the end of the transition period."

Johnson repeatedly said there would be no checks on goods being traded between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after Brexit, despite his opponents saying they would be needed to keep the border with the Republic of Ireland open.

"There's no question of there being checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain or Great Britain to Northern Ireland," Johnson told Sky News in December.

The announcement of a program to pay for the paperwork confirms such measures.

Goods going into Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea will need to be declared so any tariffs or duties can be paid on cargoes that then pass on into the Republic of Ireland, which is still a member of the European Union.

 
 

The new service will take control of that bureaucracy, the government said.

London also pledged to spend 300 million pounds on programs to support peace and reconciliation projects across the island of Ireland.