Britain’s busiest ferry port faces the risk of bankruptcy following Westminster’s decision to retract millions of pounds in funding for swine fever checks on pigs arriving at the port of Dover. The money has already been spent during the financial years for which it was allocated. The local council meets tonight (Monday February 5) to plan for the coming months, when food testing will be rolled out further.
A third of Dover District Council’s budget is diverted from local government to funding food safety checks at the UK’s largest passenger and freight terminal. In June, this figure will rise to nearly half. Dover handles up to 120 ship movements a day at peak periods and moves a third of the UK’s food imports.
The harbour is run by an independent trust, set up by an act of parliament and given the task of managing the busiest ferry port in the UK. Since the legal requirements are set by national laws, Dover has no choice but to comply. The district council is run by a Labour group with a majority of one elected in May last year. The harbour’s independent status means that theoretically it can set whatever prices it needs for its services to pay their way. The reality is not that simple
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