- Theresa May’s government has triggered all of its no-deal Brexit plans.
- Ministers have agreed to spend an extra £2 billion to help departments prepare for no-deal Brexit chaos.
- Government departments will now activate all remaining no-deal plans, including a move to book space on ferries to ensure medical supplies arriving in the UK do not run out.
- The move comes as continued opposition to Theresa May’s proposed deal makes the prospect of no-deal increasingly likely.
- The government will send out 80,000 emails to UK business groups and roll out a nationwide advertising campaign warning firms to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
- Business groups have warned that the UK is not prepared to leave the EU without a deal in March.
LONDON – The UK government decided to trigger its emergency no-deal Brexit plans after ministers agreed to allocate an extra £2 billion in funding to try and manage the chaos of leaving the European Union without a deal.
A Downing Street spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that Cabinet had agreed to dramatically ramp up preparations for a no deal scenario.
Government departments will now activate all no-deal plans drawn up by civil servants, including a move to book space on ferries to ensure medical supplies arriving in the UK do not run out.
The Department for Exiting the EU will also end out 80,000 emails to UK business groups and roll out a nationwide advertising campaign warning firms to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
The announcement comes as continued opposition to May’s proposed deal makes it increasingly likely that Britain will leave the EU without a deal in March next year.
A spokesperson for May said the government’s top priority remained securing the deal she had negotiated in Brussels, but said it was “sensible” to prepare for all possible outcomes.
“Cabinet agreed that delivering the deal agreed with Brussels remains the government’s top priority and the best no-deal mitigation,” said the spokesperson.
“However, the government’s continued duty is to prepare for every eventuality including a no-deal situation.”
“With just over three months until our exit from the European Union, we have now reached the point where we need to ramp up these preparations. We have now set in motion the remaining elements of our no-deal plans,” they said.
The prime minister confirmed on Monday that MPs will vote on her proposed Brexit deal in January after being shelved earlier this month, with the majority of parliament still planning to oppose the deal.
British firms told to prepare for chaotic Brexit
In an unprecedented move, the Cabinet will on Tuesday afternoon tell six million businesses nationwide to start immediate preparations for a no-deal Brexit, the Sun newspaper reports.
The UK government will send letters to 145,000 UK firms which export to the EU this afternoon, while the country as a whole will be targeted with an information campaign through social media and nationwide advertising.
The government will also lay out their plans the allocation of funding later this week. The Sun reports that the Home Office will reportedly receive £500 million for border and immigration officials, the environment department will receive £400 million for a new IT system and food and fish exports, and the trade department will receive £130 million to hire new trade negotiators to attempt to strike new free trade deals as quickly as possible.
‘No deal would leave the UK poorer’
Several current and former Cabinet ministers, as well as the prime minister herself, have insisted that the UK would flourish under a no-deal Brexit, especially those with designs on the future leadership of a Conservative party with an overwhelmingly pro-Brexit membership.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, a frontrunner to replace the prime minister, claimed on Sunday that Britain could “flourish and prosper” outside the EU with no deal. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt was also on Tuesday accused by Cabinet rivals of “hypocrisy and dishonesty” for reportedly advocating a “managed no-deal” despite having been previously quiet on the issue.
But business groups have warned that Britain is highly underprepared to leave the EU without a deal in March. The Confederation for British Industry has said that “leaving the EU in a disorderly fashion would result in disruption for businesses and families, and no deal would leave the UK poorer and less competitive in the long-term.”
Manufacturing industries, which rely on frictionless trade with the EU, have also warned that leaving without a deal in March would be disastrous and force many factories to close down.Britain’s car industry has warned that a no-deal scenario would be “catastrophic,” with many companies considering plans to move operations overseas in such a scenario.
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