No-Deal Brexit Poses a Threat to Britain’s Security and Food Sector
EU policymakers have been informed that Prime Minister Johnson is focused on delivering Brexit by the end of October and renegotiating the withdrawal deal is not a priority. Following talks between European Union officials and Boris Johnson’s chief envoy concluded with the clear understanding that the UK is now resolute in leaving the bloc with or without a deal; prime minister Johnson has previously stated that having the ability to walk away from a negotiation is an important element of the negotiating process.
The Prime Minister’s Europe Adviser and Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union, David Frost, is believed to have tried to secure talks after the Brexit deadline. The Conservative government has made it clear that the Prime Minister is willing to negotiate a potential deal with the EU but is adamant that the ‘undemocratic’ backstop must be excluded from any deal.
Jeremy Corbyn voiced his concerns with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, as on August 5th he told Guardian reporters: “We will do everything to stop no-deal, including a no-confidence vote at the appropriate, very early time to do it. The Prime Minister seems to be trying to slip no-deal through, slip past parliament, and slip past the British people. Sorry, no-deal will be really serious, serious for food prices, for medical supplies, for trade, for investment, and drive us straight into the hands of the sort of trade deal that Donald Trump wants to do with Boris Johnson.”
Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for no-deal said: “We stand ready to engage with the European Union, to negotiate in good faith and to make sure that we can have a friendly relationship in the future and we will put all our energy into making sure that we can secure that good deal but at the moment it’s the EU that seems to be saying they’re not interested, they are simply saying no we don’t want to talk. Well, I think that’s wrong and sad; it’s not in Europe’s interests.”
Click here to watch the full statement.
Some members of the Conservative Party, including Philip Hammond, have hinted that they may vote with the Labour Party against the Prime Minister if a no-deal Brexit is pushed forward.
Neil Basu, the Scotland Yard assistant commissioner, said that a no-deal Brexit scenario could wreak havoc on the UK’s security.
Britain’s food industry has requested that Parliament updates various elements of the competition law to give businesses the ability to organize and plan ahead of time with supply chains in the event of a no-deal Brexit on October 31st.
The FDF (Food and Drink Federation), representing a variety of businesses and trade associations, has put pressure on the Government to give an insight into what sort of an impact a no-deal withdrawal from the European Union would have on the UK’s food industry.
The FDF has suggested that leaving without a deal at the end of October could cause a variety of issues. Tim Rycroft, the Chief Operating Officer at the FDF, said: “We think there will be some serious disruption and it will go on for weeks or months after our exit, it may be slightly mitigated by stockpiling in the first few weeks but with fresh food that cant last very long. What we have said to the Government is that in the event that disruptions happen and you get these selective shortages it may well be that the Government is going to come to us and say can’t you guys work together to ensure that remote communities, the elderly and children, and at-risk groups don’t suffer from those shortages. Now we’re happy to help but the Competition and Markets Authority can fine companies up to 10 percent of turnover if they’re guilty of anti-competitive behavior. So, we wouldn’t be able to do that without some pretty cast-iron reassurances.”
If the UK leaves the bloc without a deal which sectors will face the most hardship?
The Exiting the EU Committee has cautioned that a no-deal Brexit could cripple various industries such as the automotive, agriculture, food, medicine and technology.
Former Chairman of Northern Foods, Lord Haskins said: “I think there will be some panic buying, that will create shortages. I am very worried about the supermarkets getting a priority, we have to remember the schools are very important, the NHS is very important… restaurants and catering. All of them have very complex distribution systems. I don’t see how that can be left to the private sector to deal with frankly.”
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘come what may’ attitude towards leaving the European Union on October 31st, more than 2 billion pounds have been set aside for no-deal preparations. What does this mean for you as a consumer if Britain departs from the bloc without a deal?
According to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, around 28 percent of food imported to Britain comes from the Eurozone, so a no-deal Brexit could result in drastic changes to the variety of food products in supermarkets. UK consumers could witness increased prices for and limited amounts of fresh produce including vegetables and fruits.
Spikes in import tariffs and delays at border checks could all lead to an increase in prices. Furthermore, a no-deal Brexit could also push the British pound off the edge and see its value drop, which would also have an impact on prices for consumers.
On the other hand, the UK Government has suggested that a no-deal Brexit scenario would probably not bring about food shortages, but the erratic behavior of the consumer could do more damage to food stockpiles
To try and counter the possible side effects of a no-deal Brexit outcome, which has become more likely now that Boris Johnson has undertaken the role as Prime Minister, supermarkets have started building up their stocks with food and drink products.
Some supermarket chains have raised concerns with the October 31st deadline due to warehouse space being limited due to the festive season and Black Friday sales, putting a cap on the possible amount of stockpiling.