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Years of infrastrucure needed for Dover if UK has no-deal Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond tells MP Charlie Elphicke

By Sam Lennon

The Chancellor has warned that it would take years for Dover to be ready for a no-deal Brexit.

Philip Hammond said that planning stages themselves would take two years and actually building of infrastructure even more years.

This would be if the United Kingdom had to end up in a World Trade Organisation-style arrangement.

Philp Hammond at the committee hearing: Still and full video courtesy of Office of Charlie Elphicke MP
Philp Hammond at the committee hearing: Still and full video courtesy of Office of Charlie Elphicke MP

He said: "The significant things that would need to be done in Dover in the longer term, if we were to end up having a WTO-type trading arrangement with the European Union, would involve some very significant infrastructure works that could not be be done in a matter of months. It would take years."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer had yesterday been responding to a question during a Treasury Select Committee hearing from one member, Dover MP Charlie Elphicke.

Mr Hammond warned: "The planning system might struggle to approve such significant infrastructure changes in two years, never mind get them built.

" So I think it would take quite a lot longer to deliver the kind of major infrastructure changes that might be needed If we were going to be looking at a long term WTO-type trading relationship."

Mr Elphicke has long pressed for road upgrades in the area and there has been a local campaign for decades to dual the A2 beyond Whitfield.

Mr Elphicke had opened up by telling Mr Hammond: "The Channel ports make up a third of the UK trade in goods. There's always a chance we might end up leaving the EU with no deal. Why has so little been done to prepare Dover and the Channel ports for no deal so far?"

Mr Hammond said he didn't agree that little had been done.

He added; "We have sought to engage with the big port operators on measures that they can take, software adjustments that they would need to make. HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) is in discussion with all of them and has been for some time."

Charlie ElphickE. Picture from the office of Charlie Elphicke. MP
Charlie ElphickE. Picture from the office of Charlie Elphicke. MP

Mr Elphicke said afterwards: "My point has always been that road upgrades have been needed for years anyway. It was also about showing we were prepared to walk away. The result of not doing that is plain to see."

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