Government to spend £50 million cancelling no-deal Brexit ferry contracts

PUBLISHED: 11:40 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:39 01 May 2019

Dover ferries. Picture: Getty Images / Nigel Randell

Dover ferries. Picture: Getty Images / Nigel Randell

Nigel Randell

Ferry contracts made by the Department for Transport in preparation for a no-deal Brexit are reported to have been cancelled at an estimated cost of £50 million.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism

Three firms had received contracts worth over £100 million to run extra services in the event of a no-deal scenario.

The cancellation suggests the government no longer believes a no-deal Brexit is a likely scenario.

With Brexit delayed first to April 12 and secondly to October 31, the government no longer requires the services of Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight.

The companies had been asked to provide additional routes to supplement Dover to Calais traffic.

Seaborne Freight's controversial contract - as the company owned no ships when it signed its £13.8 million government deal - was cancelled in February.

MORE: Government terminates £14m ferry contract with company that owns no ships

Chris Grayling's Department for Transport has also settled a legal challenge with Eurotunnel with a £33 million agreement.

MORE: Eurotunnel drops court case over botched post-Brexit ferry contracts after £33m agreement

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.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: “The Brexit ferry chaos on Chris Grayling's watch has moved from farce to national scandal with the taxpayer picking up the bill.

“If he had listened to the maritime unions none of this would have happened.

You may also want to watch:

“Grayling has reduced the shipping industry in this island nation to a global laughing stock.”

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “Chris Grayling and the ferry contracts will for evermore be a case study in ministerial incompetence.

“The Transport Secretary's approach to procurement and planning has cost taxpayers tens, if not hundreds, of millions of pounds.

“His career as a minister has left a trail of scorched earth and billions of pounds of public money wasted.

“This country cannot afford Chris Grayling.”

Virendra Sharma MP, who is a supporter of anti-Brexit campaign Best for Britain, said: “The man with the reverse Midas touch strikes again.

“Much more of surprise than Chris Grayling's most recent failure is the fact he's still got a job.

“When you mix an intractable problem like Brexit with an incompetent Secretary of State, you're setting yourself up for a big fall.

“Millions of pounds have been wasted as a result.

“This is the latest episode in the sorry saga that is Brexit.

“Instead of pushing forward with a failing project, we must give this decision back to the people so that they can have the final say.”

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest anti-Brexit campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy