Tuesday

26th May 2020

Yellowhammer: UK report predicts Brexit chaos

  • The five-page secret document was only released under pressure from MPs before parliament was suspended (Photo: LeoLondon)

A report from the British government, named Operation Yellowhammer, predicts public disorder, shortages in medicine and fresh food and several other disruptions in case of a no-deal Brexit.

The government was forced to make the report public by the UK parliament. The five-page document, written in August, is described as the government's "reasonable worst case planning assumptions".

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The Yellowhammer document start with the analysis that "public and business readiness for a no-deal will remain at a low level, and will decrease to lower levels, because the absence of a clear vision on the form of EU exit (customs union, no-deal, etc) does not provide a concrete situation for third parties to prepare for".

The paper starts with warnings of delays at EU borders, estimating that up to 85 percent of the trucks crossing the Channel are not ready for a new French customs regime.

"The lack of trader readiness combined with limited space in French ports to hold 'unready' HGVs could reduce the flow rate to 40 percent-60 percent of current levels within one day as unready HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles, red.) will fill the ports and block flow," it warns, adding that "HGVs could face maximum delays of 1.5-2.5 days before being able to cross the border".

These delays are particularly problematic for medicine that has a "short shelf life" as they cannot be stockpiled.

The predicted shortage of veterinary medicine "would reduce our ability to prevent and control disease outbreaks, with potential detrimental impact for animal health and welfare, the environment, and wider food safety/availability and zoonotic diseases which can directly impact human health".

The documents continues that "certain types of fresh food supply will decrease". There will be no overall shortage of food, the authors claim, but there will be less choice of food and the prices will increase, which will be problematic for vulnerable groups.

Poor hit hardest

It later repeats its warning that "low income groups will be disproportionally affected by any price rises in food and fuel".

The report further warns that "protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb significant amounts of police resource. There might also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions."

There also will be disruptions in healthcare, pensions, traffic and insurance payments for UK citizens in the EU, but also in the UK.

The UK government dismissed the importance of the Operation Yellowhammer report, saying that the document "was never a base or central case".

The government refused to comply with the second of part of MP's request, which demanded the release of messages in relation to the suspension of parliament and Yellowhammer.

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