This announcement comes amid the UK preparing to leave the EU customs union at the end of the year. Despite the UK officially withdrawing from the European Union in January, the UK is still in a transition period until the end of the year. Plans include new border control posts and 500 extra Border Force staff.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said the move would help the UK “seize the opportunities” post-Brexit.
This big cash injection comes after reports of a leaked letter from Liz Truss the International Trade Secretary, the BBC has reported.
The leaked letter raises concerns about the readiness of Britain’s ports.
There are plans in place to instil new border posts inland.
Currently, existing ports have no room to expand to cope with the extra checks that will be required at the existing entry points.
This funding will be able to go toward building a port and inland infrastructure as well as new IT systems and staffing.
It relates only to the external borders of England, Scotland and Wales.
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The government is expected to publish specific guidance and measures for Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.
As the UK is still in the transition phase of exiting the customs union the rules and membership still apply.
However, in terms of what the UK’s relationship will look like with the EU after the period, well, that depends on the deal they strike.
Customs checks on EU goods will be delayed until July 2021.
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The leaked letter from Ms Truss hinted that she was concerned about the government’s plans to phase in checks on EU goods coming into the UK after the period.
Ms Truss reportedly warned fellow ministers that failing to impose full border controls until July could see increased smuggling from the EU.
This could lead to legal challenges at the World Trade Organisation, and even weaken the union with Northern Ireland.
The UK government has ruled out extending the transition period in order to reach a deal.
Mr Gove said: “With or without further agreement with the EU, this £705m will ensure that the necessary infrastructure, tech and border personnel are in place so that our traders and the border industry are able to manage the changes and seize the opportunities as we lay the foundations for the world’s most effective and secure border.”