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  1. ITV Report

How will Jersey cope with a no-deal Brexit?

Potential disruption may include possible shortages of some foods and medical supplies. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Images

Jersey's government has released more information on its plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Earlier this week, the UK government outlined its 'worst case scenario' for the UK's departure from the European Union in the Operation Yellowhammer document.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that the UK will leave the EU on Thursday 31 October, with or without a deal.

Now, the government of Jersey has outlined how it will minimise potential disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit, including possible shortages of some foods and medical supplies.

  • Food Security
The government says that disruption to freight at Portsmouth would have a 'significant and swift impact' on the availability of many foods on islanders' shelves Credit: ITV Channel TV

The External Relations Minister says the biggest threat is still to food retailers, given the reliance on imports from the UK.

Any disruption to freight at Portsmouth would have a 'significant and swift impact' on the availability of many foods on islanders' shelves - particularly fresh foods, according to Senator Gorst.

That is because supermarkets and wholesalers may not have warehousing capacity to store additional supplies.

This is something the government are looking at: storage possibilities on the island where retailers can stock frozen foods and ambient products - tinned goods and shelf foods.

Islanders are being reassured however that civil servants across Jersey and Guernsey are working with Portsmouth International Port and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum to try and mitigate any issues that might come with disruptions at UK ports.

They are also liasing with the Chamber of Commerce and local retailers to minimise any potential risks.

  • Vulnerable People
There is also a focus on the specific challenges that would face the care sector in the event of a No-deal Brexit. Credit: ITV Channel TV

A cross-government working group has been set up to make sure people who are vulnerable can get the support they need, this includes those on low income and pensioners.

The government anticipate these groups will be particularly affected by issues around price inflation and food availability.

There is also a focus on the specific challenges that would face the care sector.

The group is working with third sector organisations and the parishes to share information on how to support vulnerable people if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

  • Health
The government has warned of 'significant implications' for the availability of medicines and medical equipment if there are hold-ups at the port as a result of a No Deal Brexit. Credit: ITV Channel TV

There are warnings in the UK of 'significant implications' for the availability of medicines and medical equipment if there are hold-ups at the port as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

But shortages are not anticipated in Jersey as the Health and Community Services has developed 'additional stores' of essential supplies.

Additionally, Jersey's supply agreements with the UK Department for Health remain in place.

And in the event of disruption on the ferries, air freight contingencies will be put into action meaning that the supply of medicines should continue as normal.

Earlier in September, politicians voted in favour of Emergency Powers legislation which gives the States more power over the supply and distribution of medical supplies.

Although there is a warning for those travelling to the EU about medical treatment, as they may face charges.

  • Infrastructure
The government is warning islanders that they should not build their own personal stores of fuel for safety reasons. Credit: Tobias Hase/DPA/PA Images

In terms of fuel supply, Senator Gorst says that no disruption of fuel supplies is expected and that islanders should not build their own personal stores of fuel for safety reasons.

Stocks of chemicals for water have been built up over time as part of contingency plans.

The States are also confident they can keep the Energy from Waste plant and recycling operations working as normal.

  • Security, Customs and Immigration
Holders of British and Jersey variant British passports may be subject to increased immigration checks at EU borders. Credit: PA Images

The government is warning of minimal risks of civil disobedience if there is a disruptive exit from the EU.

Police are also receiving regular updates on 'potential security and community tension issues' through partnership with UK forces.

If the UK leaves without a deal, goods moving between the EU and Jersey may face increased security and customs checks.

There are also warnings that holders of British and Jersey variant British passports may be subject to increased immigration checks at EU borders.

That could mean delays at French ports and longer queues.

However, commercial freight from the EU is unlikely to be delayed and EU citizens living and working in Jersey will be able to continue to do so as a result of the Jersey-EU Settlement Scheme (JEUSS).

  • Trade and Industry
There may be 'prohibitive tariffs' for industries like agriculture and fisheries which depend on being able to export. Credit: PA Images

Jersey's government says that in a no-deal scenario, there may be 'prohibitive tariffs' for industries like agriculture and fisheries which depend on being able to export.

They will monitor the situation in the Bay of Granville where there is likely to be an increase in pressure on fishing in the area.

There are also efforts to extend the UK's WTO (World Trade Organization) membership to Jersey and the government is hopeful that this will be finalised soon.

Brexit is unlikely to have much impact on the island's finance sector, which provides the largest employment sector on the island.

Because Jersey is outside of the EU in terms of financial services, the island's interaction with its markets will not be directly affected.

There is not anticipated to be any disruption to the flow of data for cross-border financial services.

In a statement, the UK Department for Transport says it is investing money in areas with ports, e.g. Portsmouth, which provide key shipping links with the Channel Islands to reduce the risk of disruption.

The UK government is working with the Channel Islands to ensure there is as little disruption as possible.

We have recently awarded £1.25m to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight local resilience forums to help with Brexit preparations and safeguard the flow of goods when we leave the EU.

– UK Government spokesperson

In Guernsey, the States are confident they can also cope in the event of a no-deal outcome but further details of their contingency plans have not yet been released.

The States of Guernsey maintains that a disorderly no-deal Brexit is not in our interests, but we continue planning for every eventuality.

The documents released by the UK Government last night do not present any surprises however they reaffirm the importance of our preparations which continue to be reviewed and updated.

It should be noted that much of the commentary in the Yellowhammer documents relates specifically to the UK, and not to the Channel Islands.

While reference is made to the possibility of disruption to the Islands’ supply chain, this risk is already well-known.

Measures are being taken to mitigate this risk including close working with the regional authorities in Portsmouth as well as ferry and freight operators who are confident in their own contingencies.

The States’ Brexit Transition Group is meeting regularly and remains confident the Island is as ready as possible should the UK leave the European Union without a deal.

At the same time, the States of Guernsey remains in dialogue with senior UK government officials to ensure our interests continue to be represented at all levels.’

– Dep Lyndon Trott, Policy & Resources Vice-President