KENT TO BE SACRIFICED IN NO-DEAL BREXIT (from today’s Times):
A leaked UK Government document says “there are likely to be significant electricity price increases for consumers, with associated wider economic and political impacts,” adding that “low-income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel”.
On food, it warns some fresh supplies will decrease and that “critical dependencies for the food chain” such as key ingredients “may be in shorter supply”.
It says these factors would not lead to overall food shortages “but will reduce the availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups”.
Noting that “day 1 no-deal” if the UK leaves on October 31 falls on a Friday, the document says that this “may not be to our advantage” because it could coincide with the end of October half-term school holidays.
France, it says, will impose EU mandatory controls on UK goods on the first day. At that point, it says, “between 50-85 per cent of HGVs travelling via the short Channel Straits may not be ready for French customs.
“The lack of trader readiness combined with limited space in French ports to hold ‘unready’ HGVs could reduce the flow rate to 40-60 per cent of current levels within one day as unready HGVs will fill the ports and block flow.
“The worst disruption to the short Channel Straits might last for up to three months before it improves by a significant level to around 50-70 per cent (due to more traders getting prepared), although there could continue to be some disruption for significantly longer.
“Disruption to flow across the short Channel Straits would also cause significant queues in Kent and delays to HGVs attempting to use the routes to travel to France.
“In a reasonable worst-case scenario, HGVs could face maximum delays of 1.5-2.5 days before being able to cross the border.”
The document says UK citizens travelling to and from the EU “may be subject to increased immigration checks at EU border posts”. It warns: “This may lead to passenger delays at St Pancras, Cheriton (Channel Tunnel) and Dover where juxtaposed controls are in place.
“Dependent on the plans EU member states put in place to cope with these increased checks, it is likely delays will occur for UK arrivals and departures at EU airports and ports.
“This could cause some disruption on transport services. Travellers may decide to use alternative routes to complete their journey.”
The risk to water supplies is low, it says, with water companies “well prepared for any disruption”.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s council, said: “Here we see in black and white the government warning of disruption to vital medicine supplies, a higher risk of disease outbreaks due to veterinary medicine supply issues and UK pensioners in the EU being unable to access healthcare from November 1 if there is a no-deal Brexit.” Warnings about social care providers failing within months were “particularly concerning”.
The health secretary criticised the return of duty-free cigarettes and alcohol for Britons visiting EU countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Matt Hancock said it contradicted policy on cutting drinking and smoking and would hit plans to make Britain smoke-free by 2030. He had not seen the plans by Sajid Javid, the chancellor, before they were announced. “I don’t think that the return of duty-free was seen within a public health context,” he said.
The key points:
Freight Vehicles are likely to be delayed for up to two and a half days in Kent before being able to cross to Europe, causing miles of tailbacks. On day one of no-deal, up to 85 per cent of HGVs may not be ready for French customs, reducing the “flow rate” to 40 per cent of present levels. Disruption is expected for months. This could affect fuel supply to London and the southeast.
Medicines Three quarters of supply comes through the Kent Channel crossing. Supply chains are highly regulated and disruption will cause problems for medicines that cannot be stockpiled because of short shelf lives. Up to 40 per cent of supplies could be disrupted on day one.
Disease Medicine shortages for animals will limit the ability to prevent and control disease, leading to outbreaks of illnesses that spread from animals to humans, including swine flu, salmonella and potentially even ebola and rabies.
Inflation Those on lowest incomes are going to be hit hardest by the disruption, which will include price rises to food and fuel.
Fishing Almost 300 fishing ships from the EU and the European Economic Area could enter UK waters illegally on day one. The government is not prepared and there are expected to be clashes between British and foreign ships. Smuggling and illegal migration is expected to rise, as well as violent disputes and port blockades.
Oil A redacted paragraph, the contents of which were revealed in an earlier leaked version, referred to the effect on oil refineries. EU tariffs will make petrol exports uncompetitive. The British government’s policy of setting petrol import tariffs at 0 per cent will lead to the closure of two UK refineries and the loss of 2,000 jobs. Strike action over job losses is expected to lead to up to two weeks of fuel shortages in the regions supplied by those refineries.
Social care An increase in inflation after a no-deal Brexit would leave many providers unable to pay higher staff and supply costs. Smaller providers are expected to fail within three months and larger ones within six.
By John Mather from EMC & Associates Ltd., 1 month ago.