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Post-Brexit border checks to cost £4.7bn. Here's how that money could be better spent

From Taylor Swift's carbon emissions to Gordon Brown's plan to fight poverty, we've got some uses for the bill for a new Brexit border scheme

The white cliffs of Dover, where Brexit border controls will come into force

There's no indication when the full Brexit border controls will be in operation. Image: Rachael Ludwick/Flickr

The aftermath of Brexit has given rise to a new scheme to create the “world’s most effective border”, all at a cost of £4.7bn. Yet the National Audit Office has warned there’s no timetable for the Border Target Operating Model to be finished.

It’s a fair chunk of money. No need to worry, however. We’ve got a few ideas on how it could be better spent.

Train 204,000 teachers

Keir Starmer has pledged to recruit 6,500 new teachers if elected. For £4.7bn, we could go way further, training more 200,000 teachers – at an average cost of £23,000 per trainee. That’d increase the number of teachers in the UK by almost half.

Build three new drinking water reservoirs

As drought and growing population creates a thirstier country, the UK is in a battle to build the reservoirs to supply the water needed for the future. A new reservoir hasn’t opened in 30 years. Funding big infrastructure projects is tricky. But with £4.7bn, we could get three up and running – based on the £3.3bn Anglian Water is spending on a pair of new reservoirs.

Fund Gordon Brown’s plan to fight poverty with money to spare

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has a plan to fight the poverty strangling the UK. From new Sure Start centres to an extended Household Support Fund, Brown’s ideas would need £3bn to become reality, leaving us with plenty of the Brexit border money left over.

1/24th of the world’s annual banana production, bendy or not

Few Brexit factoids got as much traction as “bendy bananas”. The EU did not, in fact, ban bendy bananas. But with money to spare, and going from a generous 90p per kilogram pricing offered by M&S, we could buy 5.22million tonnes, or 1/24th of the 125million tonnes produced globally each year.

Make an entirely new British version of the MCU

Captain Brexit could become a reality if we decided to funnel the money into an entirely new version of the wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All 33 films in the MCU cost a total of $6.4bn to produce – or £5bn. With our spare border cash, we could replicate everything from Iron Man through to The Marvels. How’s that for a new national story?

Offset Taylor Swift’s carbon emissions for the next 22,600 years

Famed private jet enjoyer and occasional stage performer Taylor Swift was responsible for an estimated 8,300 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2022. Carbon credits may be dubious at best. But at a price of £25 per tonne, we could offset those estimated emissions for another 22,600 years.

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