Wales Prepares for Brexit

As the Welsh are the most stolid and practical UK citizens, the Welsh government is leading the way in preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU (aka Brexit). The government of Wales recently published a preparedness planning document for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. While the document is mainly aimed at apprising citizens of the actions the government is taking, it also lays out some probably effects Brexit would have on people so that they can make their own preparations. As some people have wondered just what the dangers are of a Brexit that one would get worked up over, here are some excerpts:

  • Major transport disruption for people and goods at the borders. As additional checks are required once the UK is no longer part of the Single Market and Customs Union. This is particularly significant at the Northern Ireland/Ireland border, the Channel crossings and atsea ports, including in Wales, where the role of Welsh ports is key to trade  with Ireland. There is also potential for delays at airports. Any delays could have significant knock-on impacts on the wider transport network, for example requiring “stack” operations on major highways and roads to ports. A number of the economic and other risks outlined below are linked to the critical issue of ensuring a smooth flow of goods through major ports–any delays could cause issues for the availability of some (fresh) food products and medicines and have a damaging impact on some trade sectors. The recently released Yellowhammer assumptions suggest a reduction to the flow rate to 40% to 60% of current levels of goods moving across borders compared to current levels if there is no mitigation. This could last up to three month safter exit day before it improves to around 50-70%.
  • Welsh Government has secured agreement for a UK-wide table top exercise, to test the co-ordinated response for the disruption to food supply and the potential public response, scheduled for the end of September.
  • Local authorities have been assured they would be able to continue to provide food in schools in the event of a no deal Brexit. But menus may need to be revised, although healthy eating in schools will be maintained
  • Contingency plans are in place to mitigate the risks of disruption to water supply chemicals.
  • Economic turmoil. The potential for major disruption to international trade (particularly, but not only, with the EU) impacting on exporting businesses, import supply chains and inward investment, could risk the sustainability of some businesses and have a negative impact on jobs and wages. This could be compounded by workforce impacts (see below). We are already feeling the consequences of a weaker economy as a result of three years’ of Brexit uncertainty –the Bank of England has estimated households are £1,000 worse off every year as a result of Brexit, compared to before the EU referendum. Some further impacts could happen very quickly after exit day, with some emerging over time. There is likely to be a further fall in the value of the pound relative to other currencies–Sterling has fallen markedly in value since the referendum and as the prospect of a no deal Brexit has intensified. This could, over time, translate into rising inflation on some products and lower economic growth
  • Some of the above factors, individually or in combination, could become too acute to manage locally. In that case, it may be necessary to assess the issue and treat it as a civil contingency

So, only things like food, water, medicine, jobs, and money may be materially affected. Minor stuff. Other information for Welsh preparing for Brexit can be found at the following websites:

https://gov.wales/preparing-wales

https://llyw.cymru/paratoi-cymru