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‘Stockpile essentials’ in case of a no-deal Brexit

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ISLANDERS will be urged to stock up on essential goods again, as the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit at the end of October is increasing, the Government of Jersey has said.

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In the run-up to the initial Brexit day of 29 March, Islanders were advised to stock up in the same way that they would for a long bank holiday weekend in case supply chains were disrupted by the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal in place.

Concerns were raised at the time about potential shortages of fresh produce and a deal was struck with the Channel Islands Co-operative Society to partially reopen its warehouse at Bellozanne to stockpile supplies such as pasta, rice, tea and coffee.

With newly elected UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking a more bullish stance on the UK leaving without a trade deal on 31 October, preparations are again under way for a no-deal scenario.

External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said that it was unlikely to be clear whether there would be a deal or not until mid-October and that Islanders would soon be urged to make necessary preparations.

‘We have been preparing for a possible no-deal scenario since 2016. In the run-up to March of this year we took some fairly proactive positive lines in asking Islanders to prepare themselves when it comes to prepositioning of provisions, as well as businesses,’ he said,

‘We also signed an agreement with the Co-op. We are already preparing similar messages for when everyone is back after the summer recess and summer holidays.’

The minister said, however, that he believed the UK was now in a better position than it had been in March to ensure supply chains remained intact.

‘The Department of Transport in the UK has done a lot more work around preparing for supply disruption, which we are connected into,’ he said.

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‘The current thoughts around supply disruption are that there might not be quite as many difficulties as they were thinking in the run-up to March when they needed to do more work on it.

‘The indications that we are getting is that their preparation is more fully formed. Of course the other issue you run into in October is bad weather but we already had contingencies in place for that.’

He added: ‘We have spoken to retailers and those people who are responsible for making sure that we are prepared from contingency and business-continuity perspectives. They are continuing to work and will work throughout the summer.

‘I’m currently meeting them on a weekly basis and that will continue. Then in September we will reassess where the UK is.’

Previous concerns about supply-chain disruption for Jersey have focused on whether the port of Portsmouth would be able to cope with the delays caused by new Customs checks in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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