MoD sends planners to ministries over post-Brexit border fears | Politics


Navy planners have been deployed to the Division for Transport, the Residence Workplace and the Overseas Workplace as officers desperately attempt to keep away from backlogs and chaos on the border within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit, the Observer can disclose.

Particulars launched underneath the Freedom of Info Act reveal that 14 navy planners have been dispatched by the Ministry of Defence to key ministries, which additionally embrace the Cupboard Workplace, the hub of the federal government’s Brexit planning, in an indication of considerations inside Whitehall on the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU with no settlement in place.

In a ramping up of no-deal preparations in current weeks, one planner is in place at Chris Grayling’s beleaguered DfT, which has already been criticised for awarding a £14m contract to run ferries within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit to an organization that doesn’t have any ships.

The transport secretary has additionally been criticised for a reside rehearsal of emergency visitors measures that shall be put in place to forestall logjams round Dover in such a situation.

Some drivers collaborating within the occasion described it as a waste of time, whereas haulage campaigners stated it was “too little, too late”.

4 planners have been posted within the Border Power, which is going through the problem of maintaining passengers and items flowing to and from Britain ought to no EU settlement be signed. Three are working within the Overseas Workplace, whereas six are working from the Cupboard Workplace.

The departments concerned refused to touch upon why that they had requested a navy planner, or what tasks they had been helping. A Defence ministry spokesman stated: “The MoD routinely works with different authorities departments on planning for a variety of contingency eventualities.”

Insiders stated some departments had requested for help on no-deal planning, “recognising the distinctive expertise and operational planning expertise the navy can supply”.

Train planning and total “command and management” recommendation are understood to be their important duties.

Cupboard ministers had been in open disagreement final week over the results of leaving the bloc with no deal in place, with enterprise secretary Greg Clark saying such an final result could be disastrous, however defence secretary Gavin Williamson insisting that Britain may succeed underneath any Brexit situation.

Contingency no-deal preparation has been going down underneath the codename Operation Yellowhammer, with plans being drawn up on the belief that essential commerce between Calais and Dover will face disruption.

It has been instructed that Michael Gove, the atmosphere secretary, was making ready to request the assistance of a navy planner to assist guarantee meals provides weren’t disrupted. Nevertheless, particulars handed to the Observer counsel he has not but carried out so.

Talking within the Commons final week, Liberal Democrat chief Vince Cable stated he had been advised by civil servants of contingency plans to slaughter a 3rd of all British sheep within the occasion of no deal.

World Commerce Organisation tariffs would hit exports so arduous that there could be too many sheep, inflicting home costs to plummet, he stated.

“We’ve the issue that if we depart the European Union with no deal, on WTO phrases, the European Union’s tariffs on dairy merchandise, lamb and varied different objects, that are fairly excessive, instantly kick in,” Cable stated.

“The issue with that, as we found after we had the foot and mouth epidemic, is that if we can’t export, costs crash. The one logical response from the farming trade, with the intention to keep the worth of the inventory, is to slaughter giant herds. This can occur.

“We all know there’s a paper in the intervening time within the agriculture division – the Division for Atmosphere, Meals and Rural Affairs – setting out a plan for slaughtering a 3rd of all British sheep with the intention to keep the integrity of the market. That’s an inevitable consequence of a excessive tariff obstructing British exports.”

However a Defra spokesman performed down the solutions {that a} mass slaughter was on the playing cards within the occasion of a no-deal.

“Because the atmosphere secretary has made very clear, a widespread cull of sheep, as has been instructed by some, shouldn’t be one thing that authorities anticipates or is planning for.”

Authorities sources stated “vital work” was underneath approach to make sure UK exporters may keep entry to EU markets after 29 March. “As a part of this we’re in shut contact with the sheep sector,” one stated.

Fraught no-deal planning can also be going down within the company world, with wildly totally different issues going through totally different sectors. Brexit consultants stated the meals and textile sectors would face the very best enhance in potential customs responsibility. A number of firms are stated to be probably paying tens of hundreds of thousands additional in duties and administrative prices annually.

In the meantime trade sources stated supermarkets are increase a few months’ inventory, locking up a number of hundred million kilos. Massive pharmaceutical firms are typically spending within the vary of £5m to £20m on preparation, with banks spending much more.

Some firms are being warned that they’re stockpiling an excessive amount of and that they could be higher off making certain they’ve money within the financial institution to cope with an unpredictable market.

James Stewart, head of Brexit on the accountancy agency KPMG, stated: “Confidence is thinning and we proceed to see heavy shopper exercise on no-deal planning. We predict everybody ought to be contracts, provide chain safety and workforce planning. Even at this stage we’re nonetheless seeing large variations in preparedness.

“Corporations who promote in sterling and purchase in {dollars} may very well be in actual hassle in the event that they haven’t hedged appropriately. A raft of companies in automotive, retail and hospitality stay very uncovered.”

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