The possibility of Brexit no deal raises panic over stockpiling

By Faye Wasilowski

June 23rd, 2016 was a memorable date for the whole of Britain.

It was the date of a referendum which divided the country, communities and families.

This same divide was mirrored across Merseyside. Liverpool voted 58.2% to remain, followed by Sefton and Wirral at 51.9% and 51.7%.  St Helens and Halton voted to leave by 58% and 57.4%.

Warrington, Knowsley and Cheshire followed closely behind with 54.3%, 51.6% and 50.7%.

Theresa May has fought to keep peers in the Conservative Party on side, following Jeremy Corbyn’s vote of no confidence towards the end of 2018.

Despite some members of her party quitting amid Brexit negotiations and the government’s proposed Brexit Deal, she has held on to the position of Prime Minister by, some would say, the skin of her teeth.

Frank Field, now an independent candidate, but previously a member of the Labour Party, is a Member of Parliament for Birkenhead. He is the only Merseyside MP who voted Leave in 2016.

Mr Field told Mersey Mash: “Birkenhead voted in line with the rest of the country-52-48 in favour of Leave- and it was the poorest parts of the town that voted most strongly in favour of Leave.

“Similarly, I voted in favour of Leave as I believed on balance, it was in the best interests of the town and the country.”

Mersey Mash asked Mr Field about what he thought the consequences of a no deal Brexit would be.

He said: “Leaving the EU without a deal would, in my view, be catastrophic.

“At this late hour, with just weeks left until we are due to leave, my view is that MPs must now see a deal through which implements the referendum result – regaining control of our borders, laws and money – while protecting the supply chains and export markets that, for example, support jobs in manufacturing.

“I have spoken out against a ‘No Deal’ outcome, mainly because of the damage it would inflict on our industry and the jobs, like those at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant, that depend on it.”

In November, Vauxhall Ellesmere Port said it was entering into Collective Consultations for a minimum of 45 days with Trade Union and Employee Representatives.

This followed views of avoiding redundancy, reducing redundancies and mitigating the consequences of any such dismissals. This follows Brexit uncertainty.

The possibility of a no deal Brexit almost comes hand in hand with stockpiling essentials such as medicine and food.

ITV reported that Liverpool resident, Irene Hughes, is one of those who has started to stockpile tins and dried foods. As well as keeping herself fed, she also has fears of where she will get the medication that keeps her husband alive, in the event of a no deal Brexit.

She said: “My biggest worry is the medication. It is a tremendous worry because nobody has mentioned it at all.

“I don’t know whether the pharmaceutical companies are ‘just in time’ with their medication or whether they do have stockpiles.”

Mersey Mash tried to contact NHS England for more information about stockpiling medication, but received no response.

There seems to be a growing online community dedicated to the stockpiling of medication and food essentials.

Image by – Tiia Monto

Facebook groups such as ‘48% Preppers- Disability and Medicines Group’ and ‘48% Preppers’ have over 10,000 members.

Members use the page to share tips about stockpiling, discuss the impact that a no deal Brexit would have on them personally, and support each other with their fears for the future of Post Brexit Britain.

For Our Future’s Sake, is a student and young person led group which advocates for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

Richard Brooks, head of communications for the group, spoke to Mersey Mash about the need for stockpiling essentials.

He said: “We are seeing in big brands such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda talking about the risk of supermarkets not having food on their shelves, or at least more limited range from what they have now.”

Supermarkets such as Asda and Sainsburys have warned Members of Parliament that crashing out of Europe will take a toll on their supply chains, providing “significant” disruptions.

“It would mean genuine catastrophe for the United Kingdom if it were to crash out the European Union with a no deal Brexit.”

As one of the co founders of the group, Mr Brooks spoke about why there should be a people’s vote.

“We think the people have a right. Now that we know so much more about what the impact of Brexit could be, we get to evaluate the actual deal which is on the table right now.”

A ‘Brexit Box’ is also being sold online. It is designed for the Brexit stockpile worries that some people may have. The website is offering customers freeze dried food with a shelve life of over 25 years, for a price of £295.00. The tins include food such as macaroni and cheese, chicken tikka and chicken fajita. The website also sells other essentials, such as a ‘Lifersave Cube’ 5000L water filter.

A no deal Brexit has other companies, such as Jaguar Land Rover, concerned.

In January, it was reported that JLR would extend its April shutdown in car production over uncertainties of Brexit.

This shut down from April 8 to 12 will be in conjunction to their annual shut down the following week.

In a statement JLR said: “There will be an additional week of production stand-down… due to potential Brexit disruption.”

Tuesday night saw the House of Commons reject Mrs May’s final revised Brexit plan by a margin of 149, which is an improvement from the initial historical rejection she faced two months ago.

The Prime Minister’s deal was voted down in the Commons by 391 to 242.

It seems that two options remain. Vote for a no Brexit deal, or push the date of Brexit back.

Despite MPs voting to reject the possibility of a no deal Brexit, it is not enough to secure a desirable deal with the EU.

In light of Tuesday night’s vote, the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon said that MPs should reject a no deal “decisively”. The Prime Minister said that she was “disappointed” with her defeat, and informed MPs that they will be facing “unenviable choices”.

Other companies with fears over a no deal Brexit are Airbus.

In January, it warned in the event of no deal reached with the EU, it would shift future wing-building out of the United Kingdom, as it predicted that this would cause “potentially very harmful decisions” for its British operations.

Boeing Plane Wing
Image by – Tony Webster

An Airbus spokesperson told us: “We continue to look forward to further clarity and the removal of uncertainty as soon as possible so that Airbus, like every business in the UK, can properly plan for the future.

“As a major employer with 14,000 people in the UK, 110,000 people in the UK supply chain and a turnover in UK of £6 billion, the shape of the future relationship with the European Union is of critical importance.

“At the moment, we continue to plan for ‘no deal’ as that is the only way that a responsible business can plan.

“We are working with suppliers and partners to stockpile parts, prepare customs and regulatory systems and mitigate impacts where possible.”

It is only a matter of time until Brexit is upon us as a country. It is a topic which has made non-stop headlines across the United Kingdom and the world since 2016.

There is no clear indication of what life will be like after Britain leave the European Union.

Will the UK change, or will it stay the same?

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