SOUTHAMPTON has been awarded almost £273,000 to help the port cope with the fall-out from Brexit.

The city council has been allocated two payments of £136,362 amid fears a no-deal Brexit could cause huge traffic jams in cities with docks handing cross-Channel freight.

Southampton and 18 other local authorities across the UK will share a total government pay-out of more than £3m.

Most will receive a single payment but four councils, including Southampton, will get twice that amount because it has two major ports of entry - the main docks and the container terminal.

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Southampton MP Royston Smith welcomed the announcement, which comes just days after he urged the government to help the city cope with Brexit.

Mr Smith, who voted in favour of the UK leaving the EU, said the cash would be needed if a no-deal Brexit left Dover unable to cope and Southampton became am overspill port.

The Tory MP for Southampton Itchen added: “It’s good news the government is preparing for the unlikely event of Britain leaving without an agreement.

“I remain confident a deal will be agreed in time, in which case the money will become a contingency rather than a requirement.”

Southampton docks are run by Associated British Ports but the port health authority is the city council.

Nineteen local authorities with major ports will share an overall pay-out of £3.14m to help them prepare for Brexit.

A government spokesman said: “The money will allow them to increase their resources to work through the immediate impacts from Brexit in their local areas such as ensuring their port’s resilience and potential impacts of greater traffic to surrounding communities.

“The allocations have been based on a number of factors.

“These include the amount of EU goods each port area receives into the country and its wider importance to the UK’s global trade network.”

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Communities secretary James Brokenshire added: “Local authorities have a critical role to play in making a success of Brexit.

“I am acutely aware a greater burden could be placed on the areas surrounding our ports. I have announced how we are allocating £3.14 million to those areas considered to be under the greatest pressure from Brexit.

“I will continue to take the situation under review, working closely with local leaders to ensure they are prepared to respond to Brexit.”

An ABP spokesperson added: "We are committed to working with all the relevant authorities and our industry partners to make sure we can continue to help trade flow and grow after Brexit."

Christopher Hamond, leader of Southampton City Council, said: “Whatever your views on Brexit, we all want to try and ensure that the process is undertaken with a minimal amount of disruption. 

"We welcome any additional Government funding for Southampton.

"However, we are working closely with neighbouring authorities to prepare for the regional impacts of Brexit, and it is widely recognised that the Port of Portsmouth could see potentially significant traffic impacts in the event of a no-deal scenario.

"We are therefore disappointed that this risk, which was highlighted in a report to the council’s Cabinet this week and in letters to the Secretary of State and MPs, has not been acknowledged and more funding made available to the region as a whole to address this.”