UK government pays Eurotunnel £33M over no-deal Brexit ferry plan
The U.K. Department for Transport agreed to pay Eurotunnel £33 million after the operator of the undersea tunnel between England and France complained three Brexit ferry deals unfairly backed shipping firms.
Eurotunnel has committed to boost security and traffic flow at the border crossing as part of the settlement announced Friday, according to a government statement. It said a swift deal is needed to avoid a lengthy court battle over the ferry deals issued in December.
The Department for Transport said the ferry contracts, which will snap into place at the end of March should the U.K. exit the EU without a deal, will ship vital medical supplies and veterinary stocks.
Eurotunnel argued the contracts with DFDS, Brittany Ferries and Seaborne Freight marked unfair competition.
One of contracts has already been scrapped after it emerged that Seaborne Freight had failed to secure any ships to put on services between Ramsgate and Ostend.
“The agreement with Eurotunnel secures the governments additional freight capacity, helping ensure that the [National Health Service] has essential medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Labour MP Wes Streeting said in a statement: “Another £33 million of taxpayers money is now being thrown away thanks to the shambolic mismanagement of leading Brexiteer Chris Grayling and his inexplicable, secretive decision to hand a lucrative contract to a ferry company with no ferries.”