Brexit: File shows no deal devastating, says Welsh minister

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Jeremy Miles: “We support the urgent recall of UK Parliament at this time of national crisis”

UK ministers’ no-deal Brexit assessment confirms leaving the EU without agreeing a deal would be “devastating for Wales”, a Welsh minister has said.

MPs forced the UK government to release the Yellowhammer document before Parliament was suspended – on Tuesday.

Wales’ Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles said Boris Johnson’s government was engaging less with Welsh ministers on no deal work than Theresa May’s had.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK government was mitigating the risks.

Recall urged after no-deal Brexit papers released

The Yellowhammer file is redacted in parts, almost identical to a version leaked to the Sunday Times last month and warns a no-deal Brexit could lead to:

  • a “decrease” in certain types of fresh food and “shorter supply” of key ingredients
  • price rises for food and fuel, which would “disproportionately” affect those with low incomes
  • “disruption lasting up to six months” potentially affecting medicines and medical supplies
  • protests and counter-protests across the UK
  • lorries waiting for more than two days to cross the English Channel

The file also says some businesses could cease trading, the black market could grow, and some adult social care providers might fail.

Responding on Twitter, ahead of attending a no-deal planning meeting chaired by UK cabinet minister Michael Gove on Thursday, Mr Miles said: “The publication of the Yellowhammer assumptions tonight confirms what we have been saying for many months – that a no-deal Brexit will be devastating and destructive for the Welsh economy and our communities.

“That’s why we have consistently said that No Deal must be taken off table. It is now evident that no amount of preparation can mitigate this level of disruption.

“We call on the UK government to immediately step up engagement with us on preparations – worryingly we have had less involvement with the Johnson government than under his predecessor.

“Yellowhammer shows how profoundly reckless it was to prorogue [suspend Parliament] and we support the urgent recall of UK Parliament at this time of national crisis.”

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Ben Wallace: ‘We are on track to be fully prepared’

But Mr Wallace BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the document showed what might happen “if the government didn’t do anything about it” and “lots of measures” were being taken to reduce risks.

Mr Gove, the UK cabinet minister responsible for no-deal planning, said “considerable steps” had been taken to ensure the safest possible departure after a no-deal Brexit in the six weeks since 2 August, the date on the document.

On Wednesday, he said “revised assumptions” will be published “in due course alongside a document outlining the mitigations the UK government has put in place and intends to put in place”.

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