LETTER: No responsible government would have allowed this

A reader discusses the government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

I’ve just seen the government’s “reasonable worst case scenario planning assumptions to support civil contingencies planning for the end of the (Brexit) transition period”, as published by Robert Peston. It’s the government’s own “reasonable assessment” of what could happen in the UK if the EU-UK talks collapse.

This includes, among other things: reduced supply of both food and medicines across the Channel; disruption to supply of certain critical chemicals used in the UK, leading to disruption of essential services (water, energy, food and medicines); clashes between UK and EU fishermen, increase in illegal fishing; local fuel disruption; reduction in both the UK’s and the EU’s abilities to fight crime and terrorism, reduction in the supply of veterinary medicines reducing our ability to control disease outbreaks and so risking damage to animal welfare, the environment, food safety and human health; one in twenty local authorities at risk of financial collapse, and, perhaps not surprisingly, protests taking place across the UK with a rise in public disorder. There could be maximum queues of 7,000 lorries in Kent and delays of two days. Low income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price increases in food and fuel.

There are plenty of other risks mentioned in the document.

Mr Peston asked the government for comment and a spokesperson’s reply included the following: “As a responsible government we continue to make extensive preparations for a wide range of scenarios, including the reasonable worst case. This... reflects a responsible government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities. It’s vital that businesses and citizens prepare now for the opportunities and changes at the end of the transition period, and intensive planning is under way to support them to get ready. This includes launching a comprehensive communications campaign to make sure everyone knows what they need to do to prepare”.

My own view is simple.

No responsible government would risk inflicting these problems on its citizens.

J King, Walsall

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