Shortages, jams and shutdowns: Brexit ‘no-deal’ expectation creates chaos

News from Brussels

Source: Euractiv, 2020-12-11

Food shortages, tailbacks and congested ports: as talks with Brussels remain unresolved three weeks before leaving the EU single market, the UK is preparing for a chaotic “no-deal.”

Business groups this week warned of difficulties from 1 January as a frustrating lack of clarity on a post-Brexit trade deal has left many companies unable to plan properly.

“While Britain’s businesses are hoping that a Brexit deal will be reached, companies across many sectors will face disruption,” said Darren Jones, Chair of Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, after meeting business representatives on 8 December.

Businesses warned of “potential food shortages and price rises, and the threat of heaping significant costs onto our car industry, and also of concerns around financial services,” he said.

James Sibley, Head of International Affairs at the UK’s Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), told the BBC he expected “terrible disruption in January.”

But even as the clock ticks down to Brexit, the country has already had a taster: a logjam at seaports has lasted several weeks, disrupting supply chains.

Many businesses are trying to order in supplies early as a precaution while others are ordering larger quantities to boost production to compensate for this year’s coronavirus lockdown.

This week, large numbers of lorries were stuck in huge jams heading to and from the busy Channel port of Dover, on the south coast of England.

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