Major £650 million investment for Northern Ireland

By August 7, 2020NEWS

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announce a major £650m package of investment

  • A new free-to-use Trader Support Service backed by funding of up to £200 million will complete digital processes on behalf of businesses importing goods into Northern Ireland.
  • £155m to fund the development of new technology to ensure the new processes can be fully digital and streamlined.
  • £300 million confirmed funding for the PEACE Plus programme will help to support peace, prosperity and reconciliation projects on the island of Ireland.

On a visit to Northern Ireland today (Friday 7 August), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, will announce a major £650m package of investment to help traders in Northern Ireland, and support peace, prosperity and reconciliation projects on the island of Ireland.

At the centre of this package is a new, free-to-use Trader Support Service (TSS) – an end-to-end support service to deal with import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders.

The new service will be available to businesses bringing in goods from Great Britain or the rest of the world, providing guidance as well as dealing with their requirements for moving goods into Northern Ireland.

A procurement exercise for the service has now been launched. We have committed £50m of funding for the establishment and first phase of the service, with the full contract to be worth up to £200m. Businesses in Northern Ireland can sign up for further information about the scheme on GOV.UK from today, before it becomes operational in September.

The service is outlined as part of the publication of new guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol for businesses moving goods into and from Northern Ireland. The new online pages have been added to gov.uk/transition and will be updated as implementation work and UK-EU discussions proceed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This provides further clarity to businesses following the publication of the Government’s Command Paper in May, with additional details to be outlined as work proceeds in the coming months to support preparations for the end of the transition period.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretary of State also confirmed £300m of funding to the PEACE Plus programme to support peace and reconciliation across the island of Ireland.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said:

Today’s £650 million investment underlines our absolute commitment to the people and businesses of Northern Ireland as we move towards the end of the transition period.

Our new free-to-use Trader Support Service will provide vital support and guidance to traders, while our £300 million investment in reconciliation projects will help to preserve the huge gains from the peace process and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

As part of our ongoing engagement with Northern Ireland businesses and the Executive, we are also publishing further guidance for businesses on the operation of the Protocol.

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.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, said:

Businesses have always been at the heart of our preparations for the end of the transition period. This new Trader Support Service backed by funding of up to £200m reinforces this approach – it is a unique service that will ensure that businesses of all sizes can have import processes dealt with on their behalf, at no cost.

We recognise the importance of clarity and certainty for businesses which is why, as our discussions with the EU continue, the Business Engagement Forum will remain a vital forum to bring together the UK Government and the NI Executive with businesses across NI and their representatives to make sure they have the information they need to support their preparations.

We also recognise that the Protocol is about more than maintaining the critical economic links that exist across our United Kingdom, so I am proud that we have committed to provide £300 million to the PEACE Plus programme, which does such important work across the island of Ireland to promote peace and reconciliation.

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