‘Risk to supply chains’ under no-deal scenario
AVOIDING a no-deal Brexit would be in the best interests of Jersey and a disorderly exit would threaten supply chains, key infrastructure and information sharing with Europe, a new government report says.
The likelihood of an exit from the EU without a negotiated agreement is growing more likely, with both candidates vying to become the UK’s next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, having declared they would be comfortable leaving without a deal.
The UK is currently set to leave the EU on 31 October.
The Brexit Report July 2019 Update, published by External Relations Minster Ian Gorst, says that the Island has been making preparations for a no-deal scenario since the 2016 referendum.
It says: ‘The prospect of a “no deal” has been ever-present throughout this process, and is now potentially at its most likely since the referendum.
‘While there is a narrow but stable majority against this outcome within the current House of Commons, no deal on 31 October remains the legal default, and there is no clear parliamentary mechanism to prevent this.
‘As such, whilst the spotlight will once again shine on parliament in the early autumn, the procedural creativity of parliamentarians opposed to no deal will be sorely tested, with the spectre of a vote of no confidence and a subsequent general election overhanging proceedings.’
The report says that the Government of Jersey ‘continues to believe that a negotiated exit is in the best interests of the Island’ but it is preparing for an exit on the deadline date of 31 October without a deal in place.
‘The Government of Jersey has been preparing for all eventualities – including a day-one no deal – since the referendum,’ it says.
‘We have been working closely with our colleagues in the UK and other Crown Dependencies over the last three years to ensure that the potential impacts of a no-deal exit are mitigated as best as possible.’
The report adds: ‘Key risks include those relating to supply chain disruption, impacts on our critical national infrastructure, and loss of information-sharing with the EU.’
Work that has been carried out to address the risk of a no-deal Brexit has included working with the Port of Portsmouth to protect supply chains of food, fuel and medicine.
A working group has also been set up to safeguard vulnerable people who might be impacted by supply chain disruption or increases in prices of goods due to delays or new tariffs.
A dedicated phone line, which is operated by the Customer and Local Services Department, has also been established to help Islanders with any concerns surrounding the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
The report says that work is also progressing to secure Jersey’s membership of the World Trade Organisation, which would protect the Island from damaging customs tariffs and other trade barriers.
lJersey’s Brexit hotline number is 440401.