The government has now had three years to prepare for leaving the European Union, so it is quite shocking to find that the government’s own analysis, which was leaked to the “Sunday Times”, suggests that the UK could face months of disruption after a no-deal Brexit.
The report was quickly dismissed as “old” and a “worst case scenario” by Michael Gove, the minister responsible for Brexit preparations. But even he admitted that no-deal would cause “bumps in the road”.
What is particularly concerning is that some of the scenarios outlined in the Operation Yellowhammer report have come as a surprise to the industry representatives that have been talking to the government about preparing for Brexit.
James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the Freight Transport Association, said: “Following the revelations in the media at the weekend, it is disheartening to discover that the government has been concealing the facts which business needs to keep Britain trading effectively. The news that fuel supplies could be impacted is particularly worrying.”
The FTA has now written to Gove, calling on him to “come clean over the detail contained within the Operation Yellowhammer report so that logistics businesses can complete effective preparations to protect the UK’s supply chain from the worst impacts of a No Deal Brexit”.
And it points out: “To assume that logistics businesses will be able to make sweeping changes to working practices with less than 80 days left before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU is unrealistic at best, and not what we have been led to believe will be needed by government.”
It’s a point well made. The government must now step up and provide the information that companies need to plan effectively for the changes ahead.