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The UK is stepping up its border security ahead of the Brexit deadline.
The UK is stepping up its border security ahead of the Brexit deadline.

Britain steps up border security with 500 new officers ahead of likely no-deal Brexit

The UK government has allocated £2.1 billion in funding to speed up the process.
Aug 1st 2019, 6:09 PM 16,026 48

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT has allocated additional funding to no-deal Brexit preparations to speed up recruitment of extra border control officials ahead of the 31 October deadline. 

Boris Johnson has approved an additional £2.1 billion in funding to be spent on recruiting 500 new officers, an advertising campaign, and providing assistance to traders in the UK ahead of what looks likely to be the UK crashing out of the EU in 90 days time. 

Speaking on BBC radio 4′s Today programme, secretary to the treasury, Rishi Sunak said 250 of those officials will be on the front line for the 1 November, with the rest coming on stream in the months following. 

“The good news is we have already been preparing and investing in our borders, at £2.1 billion for Brexit preparedness in the last financial year, and an additional £2.1 billion this year, ” he said. 

Part of that has gone on preparing our borders and on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. We’ve already got 500 new border force officials working [and] the 500 extra we’ve announced today.

“The procedures have been centralised and have sped it up and 250 of those will be on the front line at the end of October, with a further 250 to come over the coming months.”

The announcement was heavily criticised by opposition politicians in the UK, who said the £2.1 billion would be better spent on other areas while a no-deal Brexit was “avoidable”. 

“This is an appalling waste of taxpayers’ cash, all for the sake of Boris Johnson’s drive towards a totally avoidable no-deal,” shadow chancellor John McDonnell said.

Sunak denied the government was wasting taxpayers money, insisting the money would have been spent on Brexit anyway, whether there was a deal with Europe or not.

“A lot of the money we are spending is going to go on things that we would need to spend anyway because we are leaving the EU.

“That means we are going to be leaving the single market and the customs union, so of course that does mean changes to how we trade with Europe… that is money that we should be spending anyway for those new arrangements.”

Fear

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned “we should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit” while speaking to reporters at an event in Kilkenny today. 

Varadkar said that Britain leaving the EU without a deal “would have very serious impacts on the economy, north and south, and on Britain.”

“It could have security implications as well and it could have constitutional implications. In terms of fear, I think we should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit.”

Tensions have heightened recently after Britain’s new prime minister Boris Johnson waited almost a week before contacting the Irish premier, after he took office, despite speaking to other world leaders. 

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Conor McCrave

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