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8 February 2019, 10:14 | Updated: 8 February 2019, 10:18
A big vote on budget cuts which could jeopardise plans to reopen the Port of Ramsgate if there is a no-deal Brexit has been delayed.
The Government has awarded a £13.8m contract to Seaborne Freight to run a regular service from Ramsgate to Ostend, Belgium if the UK crashes out of the EU next month. But Thanet Council wants to slash £700,000 funding for the Port as part of its budget for the coming year. The vote, which had been due to go ahead on Thursday night has been postponed until next month after the council leader, councillor Bob Bayford, discussed the plan with the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling. A council spokeswoman said: "The Department for Transport (DfT) is continuing commercial discussions with Seaborne and other potential operators, recognising the importance of Ramsgate Port in terms of Brexit resilience. "Councillor Bayford proposed the withdrawal of the budget report for a period of 7-10 days to allow these discussions to conclude." A regular ferry would help cut down delays in Dover if more border checks on goods and passengers are imposed, the Government said. A DfT spokeswoman said: "Our priority remains securing a deal with the EU but we are carrying out sensible contingency measures. "We continue to hold discussions with relevant parties over plans to reintroduce ferry services at Ramsgate."