‘No-deal’ Brexit advice published by UK government

Dominic Raab Image copyright Reuters Image caption Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said he hoped the no-deal preparations would be “rendered redundant” by an agreement with the EU

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has set out what he called “practical and proportionate” advice in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The guidance includes instructions for businesses who could face extra paperwork at borders and contingency plans to avoid medicine shortages.

Britons visiting the EU could also face extra credit card charges.

Ministers say a deal is the most likely outcome but that “short-term disruption” is possible without one.

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason described the publication as a “vast swirling porridge of detail – much of it at a technical level, advising individual industries about the manner in which they are regulated in the event of a no-deal Brexit”.

In the 25 documents, which cover industries including medicine, finance and farming, it says:

  • The cost of card payments between the UK and EU will “likely increase” and won’t be covered by a ban on surcharges
  • Businesses trading with the EU should start planning for new customs checks, and might have to pay for new software or logistical help
  • Britons living elsewhere in Europe could lose access to UK banking and pension services without EU action
  • Pharmacists have been told to stockpile an extra six weeks’ worth of medicine to ensure a “seamless” supply
  • The UK would continue to accept new medicines that have been tested in the EU
  • Low-value parcels from the EU would no longer be eligible for VAT relief
  • New picture warnings will be needed for cigarette packets as the EU owns the copyright to the current ones

Mr Raab said reaching a deal with the EU was the “overriding priority” and “by far the most likely outcome” but that “we must be ready to consider the alternative”.

He also dismissed what he said were “wilder claims” about the impact of not reaching a deal, including that it could spark a “sandwich famine” in the UK.

“Let me assure you that, contrary to one of the wilder claims, you will still be able to enjoy a BLT after Brexit, and there are no plans to deploy the Army to maintain food supplies,” he said.

Labour said a no-deal outcome would be “catastrophic” and a “complete failure by the government to negotiate for Britain”.

The UK will cease to be a member of the EU on 29 March 2019.

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