British departments 'not prepared' for cliff edge
The UK government is struggling to prepare for a disorderly Brexit despite the lack of a deal with just 16 days until March 29.
A new report from the UK parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found that departments face "an unprecedented challenge" in the coming weeks. It says that despite raising concerns throughout 2018, "departments have continued to struggle to prepare should the UK leave the EU without a deal".
"We are disappointed to see that some of our early concerns have now been realised."
Among the issues raised is the failure by the UK's Department of Transport to make timely preparations to procure the additional freight capacity needed to transport critical goods. "Despite being aware that the ferry industry would need time to put in place additional capacity, the department did not start serious preparations to procure this additional capacity until September 2018, just six months before the UK is due to leave the EU," the report summary says.
On the potential for disruption to the supply of food, the PAC said the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asserts that the impact on food supplies will not lead to shortages.
"We are unconvinced that the departments are prepared for the practical challenges that no deal would bring, particularly in managing the flow of priority goods," it says.