Government Cancels No Deal Brexit Ferry Contracts
1 May 2019, 12:38 | Updated: 1 May 2019, 12:44
The Government's cancelling no deal Brexit ferry contracts with taxpayers facing a £50m bill.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is set to cancel contracts with ferry providers signed in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
No-deal planning saw the government charter extra ferries to ease cross-Channel congestion if the United Kingdom fails to secure a trade deal before leaving the European Union.
Ending the contract early could cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds. The government may be able to mitigate come of the cost by selling capacity to other companies.
Mr Grayling awarded three contracts worth more than £100 million to three firms - Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight.
The smallest of the three deals, a £14m arrangement with start-up company Seaborne Freight, was cancelled amid concerns that the firm did not have any ferries.
The National Audit Office estimated in February that the maximum cost of compensation to ferry operators if contracts were terminated would be £56.6 million, but a Whitehall source said the actual figure was expected to be around 10% lower.
Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson Jenny Randerson hit out at the news: "First his Department issued a contract to a company that had no ferries," she said in a press release. "Now, it has cancelled the other two contracts because we’re not leaving the EU as planned in March, costing the taxpayer another extortionate £50 million."