Suffolk's no-deal Brexit strategy reveals fears of food and medicine shortages

Suffolk County Council's Brexit papers finally published Credit: ITV Anglia

Suffolk's strategy for dealing with a no-deal Brexit has been published and reveals fears for food shortages and disruptions to care services.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum - made up of 14 public and private sector organisations involved in transport, local authorities and emergency services - has been meeting to plan for the potential outcomes facing the county when the UK leaves the EU.

The report states the Suffolk is not expecting major shortages or civil disobedience in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but it does warn of rising food and fuel prices, and limitations on food choices.

The report says it recognises the increased cost of living will be hardest to bear by the poorest in society, but expects the national welfare system to provide help.

The papers say that disruption to care services and access to medication were also likely in the event of leaving the EU without a deal.

The SRF say there is no need for people in the county to panic and that they have to consider and plan for all scenarios.

Labour county councillor, Jack Abbott said: “This report outlines a number of risks to Suffolk, but there is little analysis and no clear strategy about what the Council’s response would be should all these scenarios come to pass at once.“It casually talks of failure in the adult care service without exploring the subject in any detail, instead citing a ‘Business Continuity Plan’."It woefully abdicates responsibility when it comes to increased food price, an impact that would disproportionally impact low income families. At a time when food bank usage is going through the roof, when Universal Credit is causing untold misery, the suggestion that the existing welfare system is fit for purpose is insulting."

The report says that the SRF has run an exercise in Felixstowe to assure continued supply of NHS stores through the port, and that it will have another exercise in early October led by Suffolk police.

A spokesperson for the SRF previously said:

"We must plan for every eventuality, including a 'no deal' scenario. We are aiming for minimal disruption to our front-line services.

"We are preparing for the operational impact of a no deal Brexit. We have no intelligence to suggest a rise in crime or disorder, but we are considering worst case scenarios provided by the Government to inform our planning.

"There shouldn't be any need for members of the public to act differently or change their consumer habits."