Contracts set to provide extra Channel crossings in the event of no deal Brexit involve huge cancellation costs, The Financial Times has reported. The controversial process was put in place by transport secretary Chris Grayling, who hired Seaborne Freight to do the job despite the firm having no ferries and who ended up in hot water after EuroTunnel announced they would sue the Government for £33million. EuroTunnel said the £108million contracts had been handed out in a “distortionary and anti-competitive” way, prompting an out-of-court settlement to take place.
Now, taxpayers will face even more staggering costs after it was revealed a delay to Brexit will see Britons out of pocket by an additional £28million.
Brittany Ferries, which has contracts worth £46.6million under the deal, said the terms “included fair and proportionate compensation in a deal scenario, taking account of the significant preparatory work and concomitant costs incurred by Brittany Ferries”.
The firm added it had already “incurred a series of direct costs and resource commitments” and “the new schedule cannot now be changed, even as an extension to Article 50 seems likely”.
They also noted additional staff had been employed and more than 20,000 existing bookings had been changed.
A Transport Department spokesman said: “As the Prime Minister has made clear, the legal default in UK and EU law remains that the UK will leave the EU without a deal unless something else is agreed.
“Leaving with a deal is still our priority, but as a responsible Government it is only right that we push on with contingency measures, that will ensure critical goods such as medicines can continue to enter the UK.
“The Government has always been clear that any extra capacity that is not used, can be sold back to the market.”
Mr Grayling is currently facing two parliamentary inquiries amid further calls for him to resign after the shocking Brexit fiasco.
Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, told The Times: “This was an extraordinary procurement which is now unravelling at the taxpayers’ expense.”
Mr Grayling has been mocked on social media for his handling of no deal Brexit planning, with those angry at his preperations tweeting using the hashtag #FailingGrayling