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18 Aug, 2019 06:54

Hard Brexit will hit UK with food, fuel & medicine shortages, leaked govt doc warns

Hard Brexit will hit UK with food, fuel & medicine shortages, leaked govt doc warns

The UK could face a shortage of fresh food, fuel and medicine in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as bringing critical supplies into the country will be hit by logjams at EU ports and borders, a leaked government report predicts.

A clandestine dossier prepared by the British government, which outlines the challenges the UK will most likely face if it leaves the EU without a deal, was leaked to the Sunday Times.

The newspaper reported that the grim vista envisaged by the document is not a worst-case scenario, but rather the most-likely outcome of Britain crashing out of the bloc – a much-feared prospect that has become increasingly likely since the changing of the guard in Downing Street.

According to the government’s forecast, codenamed ‘Operation Yellowhammer,’ some 85 percent of trucks “may not be ready” for newly introduced checks at the French border, a nuisance that could delay them by 60 hours, causing miles-long queues at points of entry.

Hard Brexit will hit UK with food, fuel & medicine shortages, leaked govt doc warns

This would have the effect of shrinking the food supply, as it largely depends on European imports, and would drive up the prices for fresh food, as well as impacting “vulnerable groups.” Those who rely on imported medicine should also stock up on pills, according to the report, as the dossier warns that the delivery of drugs is likely to incur “severe extended delays.”

Aside from medicine and food, months of border delays will cause logjams that could potentially disrupt fuel supply in London and the southeast of England. Petrol may also eventually become less widely available in other parts of Britain because fuel import tariffs will lead to the closure of two oil refineries, followed by “widespread strike action.”

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The prospect of having a hard border with the Republic is almost certain, according to the government’s dossier, as it describes plans to avoid such an outcome with last-minute changes to the deal as “unsustainable.”

Britain's Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng dismissed reports detailing the leaked document as anti-Brexit scaremongering, insisting that the UK would be “fully prepared” to leave the European Union, with or without a deal, at the end of October.

Gibraltar’s government also challenged claims made in the leaked report, stating that the document’s troubling predictions were wrong and based on out-of-date information.

While they look worrisome, these predictions are not entirely new as the painful effects of the UK leaving the EU without a deal have long been forewarned. Back in April, Sir Mark Sedwill, who is the head of the civil service, warned the government that a no-deal Brexit would bring about a recession, spiraling food prices, and threaten public safety.

READ MORE: No-deal Brexit: Leaked letter warns of threat to national security, recession & 10% spike in prices

The recession, he warned, would be “more harmful” for the UK and its pound than in 2008, and food prices would go up by 10 percent, while some businesses that trade with the EU would be brought to the brink of collapse.

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