No-Deal Brexit? Expect Food Shortages, Higher Fuel Costs, and Chaos at the Border

By Paul Riegler on 13 September 2019
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The British government released an internal policy paper that outlines what would be a “reasonable worst-case” outcome of a no-deal Brexit.  The document lists food shortages, dramatically higher fuel prices, and days-long waits for truckers at border crossings.

Prepared in August as part of a contingency exercise, code-named Operation Yellowhammer, the document identifies 12 areas of risk: transport systems, people crossing borders, key goods crossing borders, healthcare services, energy systems, other critical systems, food and supplies, banking, finance, law enforcement, and U.K. nationals in the European Union.

The document was released earlier in the week after members of Parliament voted to force the government to make it public.

The paper suggests the public and businesses – despite the hype around the issue – still aren’t prepared for what may come with a no-deal Brexit.

While most people in the United Kingdom would feel only a modest impact, the report states, “Low income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel.”

Meanwhile, traffic across the English Channel could be reduced by 40% to 60% with the implementation of border controls on both sides. The wait time for trucks could rise to over two and a half days and this could impact the distribution of fuel within the country as well as create a shortage of medicine and other necessary supplies.

The document also predicts the likelihood of social unrest.

“Protests and counter-protests will take place across the U.K. and may absorb significant amounts of police resource,” it said.

Finally, the biggest issue remains how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the European Union. A no-deal Brexit would require the implementation of border controls to enforce EU and UK tariffs, depending on the direction of the flow of goods, and could result in civil unrest.

“Disruption to key sectors and job losses are likely to result in protests and direct action with road blockages,” the report states.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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