UK 'faces food, fuel, medicine shortages' in no-deal Brexit - govt
Ministers forced to publish secret planning document
Prices could rise as goods held up at border checks
Britain could face an increase in food and fuel prices, public disorder and a disrupted medical supplies in a no-deal Brexit, according to documents the government was ordered to publish.
The summary of planning assumptions under the government's no deal plan, known as Operation Yellowhammer, revealed concerns about freight holdups at French and British ports while customs checks were carried out.
“The lack of trader readiness combined with limited space in French ports to hold ‘unready’ heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) could reduce the flow rate to 40%-60% of current levels within one day as unready HGVs will fill the ports and block flow,” the document stated.
Trucks could face waits of between 1.5 – 2.5 days to cross the border, it added, with disruption lasting for up to three months.
Medical supplies, which rely heavily on cross-Channel routes for transport, were “particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays”, the report said.
The availability of some fresh foods would also be reduced as would certain types of packaging.
“In combination, these two factors will not cause an overall shortage of food in the UK but will reduce availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups,” the report said.
The document also said low-income groups would be “disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel".
“Protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb significant amounts of police resource. There may also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions. ”
The document bore a heavy resemblance to a plan leaked to the Sunday Times in August, which the government tried to pass off as old research and out of date.
However, it has now been proved to be the latest planning from Downing Street prepared after Boris Johnson became prime minister.
Government sources had tried to claim the leak had come from disgruntled former ministers in Theresa May's government.