The chief of the Conservative-led Kent county council has urged MPs to assume “lengthy and exhausting” about voting towards Theresa Could’s Brexit deal, warning that no-deal gridlock in Dover would unfold chaos across the nation at a price of just about £1.75bn per week to the financial system.
After publishing stark no-deal contingency plans for the county on Thursday night time, Paul Carter mentioned Kent would wish “boots on the bottom” and authorities assets to make sure that the native and nationwide financial system stored shifting.
He was talking as the federal government’s border supply group met key stakeholders relating to no-deal and Dover on Friday.
He revealed that the federal government nonetheless had not launched adequate element of its personal no-deal planning for Kent and known as on it to behave swiftly to assist the council be ready for the worst-case situation. “The lacking hyperlink is the federal government,” Carter mentioned.
Based on the council’s up to date contingency plan, launched on Thursday night time, a no-deal Brexit might result in garbage going uncollected, kids being unable to take exams and council workers working from dwelling for as much as six months.
The plan additionally comprises stark warnings that morgues could be unable to run correctly, weddings could be cancelled and hospitals might be hit by workers shortages.
“I sincerely hope that we by no means must implement any of our contingency plans and that the UK has a easy exit from Europe. Nonetheless, we don’t know whether or not or not that would be the case,” Carter mentioned.
“Some individuals say this can be a waste of cash, however we should always remember the chaos that we had throughout half of this county in 2015. It lasted 10 days. Docs couldn’t get to hospitals, nurses might get to work, weddings have been cancelled, domiciliary care staff struggled to get to their purchasers.”
A visitors administration scheme, Operation Stack, was put into place involving the closure of the M20, however the associated fee to the county was £1.5m a day and £250m to the nationwide financial system.
“If we don’t get a deal, the possibilities of disruption are nice and we should always always remember that,” Carter mentioned. “Assume lengthy and exhausting could be my recommendation to MPs voting subsequent week. Let’s get the perfect deal by means of parliament. I feel Theresa Could’s deal is the perfect on provide. It might not be excellent however we want a vote for pragmatism. This provides us the time to barter a number of the thorny points and retains a great working relationship with the EU that we have to guarantee frictionless commerce.”
Kent county council has been working for months with native and nationwide companies on emergency plans if the deal doesn’t undergo.
“For the primary time we’ve a plan that doesn’t necessitate the M20 being closed, however the lacking hyperlink is the federal government. We now have acquired to have boots on the bottom and the enforcement powers,” Carter mentioned.
“There additionally must be a nationwide communications plan with clear street signage and communication with hauliers and factories to maintain vehicles in depots earlier than they’re given the sign to make their journey south to Manston the place they are going to be held till launched and go on down the A256 to Dover.
“We additionally want the federal government to determine what the precedence freight for the M20 is.”
He mentioned neighbouring counties would even be hit, with Highways England and police assets anticipated to be relocated to Kent to maintain the roads shifting.
Underneath the contingency measures Kent has been discussing with the federal government, a nationwide plan could be put in place to make sure lorries are stored in depots up and down the nation till they get the decision to maneuver south to the disused Manston airport close to Dover, the place they’d be positioned in a holding sample for “six or seven hours” earlier than being launched to Dover.
Carter mentioned the airport would maintain 6,000 to 7,000 lorries a day.
There are additionally plans for cross-ticketing between Eurotunnel and the ferry firms to protect towards ticket queues.
The prime minister’s official spokesman mentioned members of the border supply group could be addressing key stakeholders on Friday afternoon to speak about no-deal readiness.
He mentioned the discussions would deal with “potential congestion round Dover and one of the best ways of managing it”, including: “The prime minister has been clear that no-deal is a situation which we want to keep away from.”
Requested if the federal government would considerably ramp up no-deal planning if subsequent week’s Commons vote was misplaced, he mentioned: “There will probably be completely different choice factors for various sectors,” including that the method of contingency planning had been “gradual”.