UK to spend millions to ease Brexit red tape for Northern Ireland

The Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Boris Johnson
Emeh Joy

The British government will be spending up to 355 million pounds ($465m) to help businesses in Northern Ireland deal with the red tape caused by Brexit, officials said.

Brexit supporters, which include Prime Minister, Boris Johnson have said that leaving the European Union will be a boon for businesses in the UK.

However, many economists are skeptical of the claim, and Brexit poses a special challenge for Northern Ireland, which shares a boundary with the EU member, Ireland.

Britain, which left the 27-nation bloc on January 31, remains bound by the EU's rules until the end of 2020. That is when a post-Brexit transition period expires.

Both sides are trying to negotiate a new trade agreement before the deadline, but are still far apart on major issues such as fishing rights and competition rules.

A withdrawal agreement between both parties would require the all-but-invisible border between Northern Ireland and Ireland to remain free of customs posts as well as other barriers.

This implies that there will be new checks on goods moving in and out of Northern Ireland to other parts of the UK.

The British government agrees that this will be minimal and is setting up a Trader Supporting Service to help firms in Northern Ireland handle customs declarations as well as other paperwork involved in the importation of goods.

The government pledged to commit up to 200 million pounds ($235 million) for the service over five years and spend up to 155 million pounds ($182 million) on new technology.

The announcement also included 300 million pounds ($353 million) for peace and reconciliation projects in Northern Ireland.

Minister Micheal Gove, who is in charge of the UK Brexit preparations, on a visit to Northern Ireland, said there wouldn't be a border down the Irish Sea.

"Northern Ireland businesses, Northern Ireland people will continue to have totally unfettered access to the rest of the UK," he said, even though he agreed there would be some new "bureaucratic processes."

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