UK Tory Government ministers have admitted plans to stockpile medicines and ensure an “adequate food supply” in the event of Britain leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal.
The prospect of the UK failing to agree a deal by March next year seems likely, given the Tories are riven with discontent and are at odds over the Prime Minister’s compromise plans.
On Tuesday, Mrs May took charge of negotiations, demoting the recently appointed Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab MP.
Crashing out of the EU without a deal would result in the UK resorting to expensive World Trade Organization tariffs for all imports from countries in the EU or with EU trade deals until it could negotiate with each country individually.
Speaking to MPs, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that despite being “confident” the UK will secure a deal, he had expedited preparations to stockpile medicines and blood products.
Elsewhere, Mr Raab said the UK Government will take steps to ensure an “adequate food supply,” telling the health select committee:
“We are working with industry to prepare for the potential need for stockpiling in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit,” adding there is “obviously going to be a cost implication of doing this.”
Meanwhile Mr Raab told the Brexit committee:
“We will look at this issue in the round and make sure that there’s adequate food supplies.”
Scotland’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman commented:
“It’s now crystal clear that if the UK Government presses on with leaving the single market they do so knowing it will potentially harm patient care.
“Sadly, the scant comments today Mr Hancock will give very little reassurance to all those people that depend on medicines and vital plasma product supplies sourced from the EU.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“How shambolic is this UK Tory Government when contingencies have to be made just to secure supplies of food and medicine. They need to rein in their hard brexiteers before it is too late.”