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- Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spend billions of pounds on no-deal Brexit preparations in a bid to show the EU he is serious about leaving on October 31.
- Up to £300 million will be spent on trying to maintain a continued supply of medicines and chemicals.
- A further £100 million will be spent on an advertising campaign to warn businesses and households to prepare for a crash-out departure from the EU on October 31.
- Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the move was "an appalling waste of taxpayers’ money, all for the sake of Boris Johnson’s drive towards a totally avoidable no-deal."
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to spend billions more pounds on no-deal Brexit preparations to show the European Union he is serious about leaving without a deal on Halloween.
Chancellor Sajid Javid announced on Wednesday new funding which makes £4.2 billion available for no-deal Brexit planning for the financial year, bringing the total amount allocated since the referendum to £6.3 billion pounds.
Javid said he was allocating £1.1 billion of that earmarked funding for "critical operations" before leaving the EU on October 31 with no deal.
That includes £300 million announced this week for departments to buy freight capacity on ferries to ensure critical goods such as medicines and chemicals do not have their supply lines disrupted.
There is a further £100 million set available for an advertising campaign to prepare businesses and families for the impact of a no-deal.
Operation Brock, the plan to avoid huge queues of lorries in Kent in the event of no-deal, will receive an extra £344 million to alleviate border pressures.
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‘An appalling waste of taxpayers’ money’
Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, whose party is vocally opposed to a no-deal exit, said the move was a waste of money and suggested it should be spent on schools and hospitals instead.
He called it "an appalling waste of taxpayers’ money, all for the sake of Boris Johnson’s drive towards a totally avoidable no-deal.
"This government could have ruled out no-deal, and spent these billions on our schools, hospitals, and people.
Chuka Umunna, the Lib Dem Treasury Spokesperson, said "this extra money is a drop in the ocean when compared to the huge hit to the exchequer of at least £90 billion – according to the Chancellor’s predecessor – of a no-deal Brexit."
The new funding is the latest attempt by Johnson’s government to try and make the EU offer major concessions on the Brexit deal negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May, specifically the removal of the Irish backstop.
But the EU has repeatedly insisted that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be reopened, significantly increasing the risk of a no-deal Brexit this autumn.
Not all of the headline £2.1 billion figure will be immediately available to spend: £1 billion will instead be "available" to cope with additional pressures, funding which different government departments could bid for.
Javid — who was tasked with "turbo-charging" spending on no-deal preparations when he was appointed Chancellor last week — said: "With 92 days until the UK leaves the European Union it’s vital that we intensify our planning to ensure we are ready.
"We want to get a good deal that abolishes the anti-democratic backstop. But if we can’t get a good deal, we’ll have to leave without one. This additional £2.1 billion will ensure we are ready to leave on 31 October — deal or no deal."
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