A leaked report from the UK Government has set out what a 'doomsday' scenario for the Channel Islands might look like, if a no-deal Brexit clashes with a second wave of covid later this year.
According to The Sun, the official 'worst case scenario' document, which was penned in July 2020, said the military might need to fly in food and medicine to the Channel Islands to avoid a shortage.
With a final trade deal looking increasingly unlikely by the end of December, the report suggests difficulties could start from 1 January, with France putting "mandatory controls on goods from day one".
This, the report predicted, could cause disruption for up to 70% of hauliers travelling across the Channel. The knock-on effect of this could be a shortage of 30% of EU-imported food, medicines, fuel and chemicals for purifying drinking water across the UK and Channel Islands.
Cabinet Office drawn up horror show warning on what the country could face this winter. And it’s been leaked to @thesun. As Brexit talks slip into acrimony, and covid second wave fears rise.. here is what is on the warning dashboard: https://t.co/fpiRE44VsZ pic.twitter.com/1cQfRijFJ3— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) August 23, 2020
The document also goes so far as to suggest the Navy might need to be called in to stop British fishermen fighting with hundreds of illegal European fishing boats.
A spokesperson for the UK Government, however, emphasised that the report was "not a forecast or prediction of what will happen, but rather a stretching scenario."
"It reflects a responsible government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities."
Pictured: The report said the military might have to fly in food supplies to the Channel Islands in a "worst case scenario".
The findings in the latest report largely echoed those of a previous leaked UK Government report entitled 'Operation Yellowhammer', which predicted significant supply chain issues for the Crown Dependencies arising from Brexit.
At the time, Jersey's Government said it did not believe that food supplies would run out entirely in a no-deal scenario, but that there would be a likely reduction in the amount of fresh goods available.
Price inflation was also expected, which the government said it was investigating how to deal with in the case of “vulnerable groups” that may struggle with the cost increase.
While much of the work in the Government Plan was put on hold due to covid, Jersey's Government is continuing to plan for the impact of Brexit.
£131,500 was recently transferred to the Growth, Housing and Environment Department for work on Brexit.
This money will cover the cost of a contractor working between May and December 2020 (£85,500) and services provided by Marbral (£46,000).
"Many of the negotiation positions require insight from a technical policy position but also in respect of trade and the domestic economy. It is therefore vital that that this coordination continues to ensure all responses are in line with the Government of Jersey policy positions," a report explaining the transfer said.
Responding to The Sun's report this afternoon, External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst commented: “The UK Government continues to negotiate at pace with the EU to put in place a future trading relationship ahead of the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020. Government of Jersey officials are engaging regularly with representatives from Taskforce Europe, Cabinet Office and other lead UK Government Departments to ensure Jersey’s interests are understood in these negotiations."
Pictured: The External Relations Minister said Jersey is continuing to prepare for "all possible eventualities".
He continued: “Building upon the extensive cross-government planning for a possible No Deal prior to the UK’s exit from the EU earlier this year, as well as all of the work done tackling the covid-19 pandemic, we continue to prepare for all possible eventualities; this includes a ‘No Further Negotiated Outcome’ as a result of the ongoing negotiations, and any potential disruption this could cause.”
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