May Unleashes ‘Project Fear 3.0’ As Brexit Vote Looms: Stockpile Food, Drugs, Prepare For The Worst

Saturday, December 8, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/08/2018

On Tuesday, the UK Parliament is slated to vote on whether PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal should survive or die.

All the signs are that politicians in the House of Commons will choose overwhelmingly to stop the agreement May has struck after 18 months of talks with the EU.

And so, in what seems like a desperate last minute play, May’s government (that is whoever remains loyal to her) has issued a dramatic letter of warning to the country warning of the consequences of a ‘no’ vote and the case of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

This is Project Fear 3.0 (to be clear, Project Fear 1.0 was PM Cameron’s 2016 warnings of national security threats, among other things; and Project Fear 2.0 was The Bank of England’s latest economic depression forecast)

The government is telling supermarkets to keep as much stock as possible in warehouses around the country.

“The problem for supermarkets throughout this process is the seasonality of fresh produce,” said Brian Connell, a supply chain consultant at KPMG.

“Some of the stuff they would want to stockpile hasn’t even been sown yet, let alone grown or harvested.”

Retail giants including Tesco Plc, J Sainsbury Plc, Walmart Inc.’s Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc — the country’s four biggest grocery chains — are now asking their main suppliers to ramp up their stock over concerns that half their shelves will be empty if there is a hard or no-deal Brexit, according to Joe Clarke, national officer for food, drink and tobacco at the Unite union.

As Bloomberg reports, the request is being made by ministers because in the worst-case scenario, a no-deal Brexit would cut the capacity of the country’s main EU trading route from the French port of Calais to Dover in southeast England to just 13 percent of the current level due to additional border checks.

Six government and industry officials with knowledge of the matter spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity because the contingency plans aren’t public.

Worries over panic buying and loss of access to the EU’s customs union and single market are mounting for grocers, as they predict a 47 percent drop in goods and believe supply chains could dry up within two weeks of a chaotic exit from the bloc, Clarke at Unite said. They are asking their top 20 manufacturers to supply more produce in case this happens, meaning there will be less choice of brands for shoppers.

Even in the best-case no-deal Brexit scenario, officials foresee six weeks of disruption at the borders. The government is briefing organizations affected by cross-border trade on its latest no-deal planning Friday.

Separately, the Department of Health said in a letter Friday it expects up to six months of “significantly reduced access” especially on shorter shipping routes in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It didn’t give specifics on what businesses should do to prepare, though it said “six-week stockpiling activities remain a critical part of our contingency plans.”

The Rest…HERE

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