Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to outline the reason for the £5m underspend in the allocation of funding for boundary regulatory inspection capability work relating to the Brexit Protocol.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: A £4.9 million underspend against the capital budget of £13m allocated to the regulatory inspection capability programme for the 2020/2021 financial year was recorded.
There are a number of contributing factors for the budget underspend which are set out below:
The uncertainty associated with negotiations proceeding to the end of the Transition period;
The adverse impact of Covid restrictions;
Delays in the full build design and build programme; and
The complexity of the programme to deliver against an extremely challenging timeline for implementation of the full build programme by 1 January 2021.
Temporary contingency arrangements were implemented at Belfast, Larne and Warrenpoint to ensure first day readiness in a matter of months. Contingency arrangements were also implemented at Foyle Port shortly after in February 2021.