MoD sends planners to ministries over post-Brexit border fears | Politics

Army planners have been deployed to the Division for Transport, the Residence Workplace and the Overseas Workplace as officers desperately attempt to keep away from backlogs and chaos on the border within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit, the Observer can disclose.

Particulars launched below the Freedom of Data Act reveal that 14 army planners have been dispatched by the Ministry of Defence to key ministries, which additionally embrace the Cupboard Workplace, the hub of the federal government’s Brexit planning, in an indication of considerations inside Whitehall on the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU with no settlement in place.

In a ramping up of no-deal preparations in current weeks, one planner is in place at Chris Grayling’s beleaguered DfT, which has already been criticised for awarding a £14m contract to run ferries within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit to an organization that doesn’t have any ships.

The transport secretary has additionally been criticised for a stay rehearsal of emergency visitors measures that will probably be put in place to forestall logjams round Dover in such a situation.

Some drivers participating within the occasion described it as a waste of time, whereas haulage campaigners stated it was “too little, too late”.

4 planners have been posted within the Border Drive, which is going through the problem of conserving passengers and items flowing to and from Britain ought to no EU settlement be signed. Three are working within the Overseas Workplace, whereas six are working from the Cupboard Workplace.

The departments concerned refused to touch upon why they’d requested a army planner, or what tasks they have been aiding. A Defence ministry spokesman stated: “The MoD routinely works with different authorities departments on planning for a variety of contingency eventualities.”

Insiders stated some departments had requested for help on no-deal planning, “recognising the distinctive expertise and operational planning expertise the army can supply”.

Train planning and total “command and management” recommendation are understood to be their primary duties.

Cupboard ministers have been in open disagreement final week over the results of leaving the bloc with no deal in place, with enterprise secretary Greg Clark saying such an final result can be disastrous, however defence secretary Gavin Williamson insisting that Britain may succeed below any Brexit situation.

Contingency no-deal preparation has been going down below the codename Operation Yellowhammer, with plans being drawn up on the idea that crucial commerce between Calais and Dover will face disruption.

It has been instructed that Michael Gove, the surroundings secretary, was making ready to request the assistance of a army planner to assist guarantee meals provides weren’t disrupted. Nevertheless, particulars handed to the Observer recommend he has not but carried out so.

Talking within the Commons final week, Liberal Democrat chief Vince Cable stated he had been instructed by civil servants of contingency plans to slaughter a 3rd of all British sheep within the occasion of no deal.

World Commerce Organisation tariffs would hit exports so exhausting that there can be too many sheep, inflicting home costs to plummet, he stated.

“We’ve got the issue that if we go away the European Union with no deal, on WTO phrases, the European Union’s tariffs on dairy merchandise, lamb and varied different objects, that are fairly excessive, instantly kick in,” Cable stated.

“The issue with that, as we found after we had the foot and mouth epidemic, is that if we can’t export, costs crash. The one logical response from the farming trade, as a way to preserve the worth of the inventory, is to slaughter massive herds. This can occur.

“We all know there’s a paper for the time being within the agriculture division – the Division for Surroundings, Meals and Rural Affairs – setting out a plan for slaughtering a 3rd of all British sheep as a way to preserve the integrity of the market. That’s an inevitable consequence of a excessive tariff obstructing British exports.”

However a Defra spokesman performed down the ideas {that a} mass slaughter was on the playing cards within the occasion of a no-deal.

“Because the surroundings secretary has made very clear, a widespread cull of sheep, as has been instructed by some, isn’t one thing that authorities anticipates or is planning for.”

Authorities sources stated “vital work” was below approach to make sure UK exporters may preserve entry to EU markets after 29 March. “As a part of this we’re in shut contact with the sheep sector,” one stated.

Fraught no-deal planning can be going down within the company world, with wildly completely different issues going through completely different sectors. Brexit consultants stated the meals and textile sectors would face the very best improve in potential customs obligation. A number of firms are stated to be taking a look at doubtlessly paying tens of hundreds of thousands further in duties and administrative prices annually.

In the meantime trade sources stated supermarkets are build up a few months’ inventory, locking up a number of hundred million kilos. Large pharmaceutical firms are usually spending within the vary of £5m to £20m on preparation, with banks spending much more.

Some firms are being warned that they’re stockpiling an excessive amount of and that they could be higher off guaranteeing they’ve money within the financial institution to cope with an unpredictable market.

James Stewart, head of Brexit on the accountancy agency KPMG, stated: “Confidence is thinning and we proceed to see heavy consumer exercise on no-deal planning. We predict everybody needs to be taking a look at contracts, provide chain safety and workforce planning. Even at this stage we’re nonetheless seeing large variations in preparedness.

“Corporations who promote in sterling and purchase in {dollars} could possibly be in actual hassle in the event that they haven’t hedged accurately. A raft of companies in automotive, retail and hospitality stay very uncovered.”

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