The UK Government has provided less than a tenth of the funding needed to help a port providing 95% of Channel Islands food and medical supplies to continue operating through a no-deal Brexit.
The warning came from Director of Portsmouth International Port Mike Sellers, who said that the move could adversely affect Jersey and Guernsey.
He said that the overall cost of implementing contingency plans if the UK government fails to pass a deal ahead of leaving the EU was around £4million.
Despite this, Mr Sellers expressed concern that the Department for Transport (DfT) had only provided £345,000 in funding – less than 10% - because it did not deem disruption at the port to be a risk.
Pictured: 95% of goods heading to the Channel Islands pass through Portsmouth Harbour, Mr Sellers warned.
Mr Sellers explained: “There has been a lot of work in the port industry to prepare for the worst case, I am confident we will be Brexit ready whatever the outcome may be, even a no-deal.
“The issue at the moment is around the funding not the preparation. The DfT are not accepting there is going to be a potential issue at Portsmouth."
Any disruption at Portsmouth would have significant implications for the Channel Islands, given that around nine out of 10 food and medicine products enter the Bailiwicks via the southern port.
Mr Sellers added: “We are essential to the Channel Islands, 95% consumed on those islands comes through our port, and it is just-in-time freight.
“If those ferries are delayed by 48 hours the supermarket shelves are empty and it’s not just food but medical supplies as well so it’s absolutely right we do have the contingency plans so in the worst case scenario we do not impact on the communities.”
A spokesperson for DfT commented: "The government will consider a claim for support should the local authorities find themselves in a position of financial hardship following the implementation of mitigation works."
The alert follows a recommendation to islanders from the Chamber of Commerce to stock up as if for a “long bank holiday” in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Despite the notice, Jersey’s government have maintained that the island is well-prepared for Brexit – a finding echoed in a recent Scrutiny report – and had contingency plans in place to ensure that the island does not suffer food or medicine shortages.
One such measure is a £13,500 partnership with the Co-op, which will see the supermarket store an extra seven days of stock – 92 pallets containing 87 products – over three months.
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