SCOTTISH ministers have stopped work on a new Brexit-related border post supposed to check goods arriving from North Ireland amid a row over money with London.

SNP Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said the UK Government had failed to provide “necessary assurances” over the financing of the Cairnryan Border Control Post (BCP).

“We are pressing the UK Government to cover the costs of the border facility including the BCP under its EU-Exit commitments,” she said.

However a Whitehall source said the SNP was merely in search of a row over Brexit, and the UK Government was very hopeful the BCP would never be required.

Work started last autumn on the Dumfries & Galloway BCP, which is supposed to check goods arriving from Ireland and the wider EU arriving from Northern Ireland.

In February, the Scottish Government laid a Special Development Order at Holyrood to ensure planning permission was given to the “vital infrastructure”.

The post will “apply devolved controls, protecting human, animal and plant health, on EU goods arriving into Scotland through the Loch Ryan ferry routes from Belfast and Larne”. 

The checks, on animals, fish, plants, food and feed, are the responsibility of Scottish Ministers, and the BCP is due to be established by the end of this year.

The Scottish Government said concept designs of the facility were currently in development and cost estimates would be refined as the project progressed. 

It said uncertainties over the physical infrastructure requirements of the facility, which were directly related to a lack of data on the goods that would require to be checked, would have an impact on its final cost.

Ms Gougeon said she needed further “clarity” from the UK Government “on the requirements for the facility and the financial position”.

She said: “Over the past few months, we have sought assurances from the UK Government regarding the funding for the Cairnryan BCP, which is required to be built as a direct result of EU Exit and the effect of its approach to guaranteeing access for Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain on transiting EU goods. 

“The UK Government has declined to provide us with the necessary assurances.

“With some major uncertainties to be resolved that are not within the control of the Scottish Government, we have made the decision to pause elements of this project until we are in a position to proceed with confidence in the requirements and the financial position. 

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“We will continue to engage with all UK Government departments to ensure the development of Cairnryan BCP can resume at pace in due course but we need to have clarity on this. 

“We have advised Dumfries and Galloway council of the situation and will continue to work closely with them and engage with the local community in due course.”

South of Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper said: “The UK Government must wake up to this. “Until they do, the Scottish Government have made the right – and perhaps only - decision to pause work on the BCP until the Tory government provide the assurances we need. 

“Any responsible Government would do as the Scottish Government have done - fulfil its obligation to create a Check Point to allow unfettered access for goods traveling between nations. However, it seems that the UK Government don’t see this as a priority. 

“This is looking like it will be the next bùrach in a long line of disasters caused by the Tories’ obsession with Brexit.”

A Whitehall source said: "We are very, very hopeful that no such thing is going to be required. We are seeking to ensure the [NI] protocol works in such a way that it is not necessary. We think checks can be adequately done on the Irish side."