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The Government plans to enforce pressure on ministers to prepare the NHS and strike a deal with the EU. The papers marked “Official Sensitive”, have drawn up plans for a “worst case scenario” in which the Royal Navy will have to protect UK fishing boats from foreign invasions.
The Government fears that hospitals could be overwhelmed if restrictions on trade caused by a no deal scenario are combined with flu, floods and COVID-19.
The Cabinet Office’s EU transition taskforce presented the papers to ministers and officials after warning that talks with Brussels were “frozen”.
Power and fuel shortages may also occur if thousands of lorries get stuck in Dover.
The Government’s “reasonable worst case scenario” also highlights how animal disease could spread through the countryside if there is a shortage of medicines.
The Channel Islands may need military airdrops to deliver food in the case of shortages.
The leaked papers also warn the Royal Navy could be needed to stop British fishermen disputing with hundreds of illegal European fishing boat incursions.
The plans were designed to kick start ministers into preparing for a major operation to avoid potential disasters coinciding.
The scenario included one which said 20 town halls could go bust.
The news comes as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier warned a deal with the UK now seems unlikely before December.
If a deal is no struck before the end of the transition period in December, then the UK will leave on no deal terms.
This means that goods crossing the Channel will encounter mandatory controls from January.
It could mean long queues build up for months across Kent, as around half of hauliers are reportedly not prepared for the checks.
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The “worst case scenario” may lead to shortages of 30 percent of the nation’s food which is imported from the EU.
Supply of medicines, fuel and chemicals for drinking water purification, will also be short, the papers warned.
It could trigger power cuts and water rationing.
The economic impacts of Brexit and a reassurance of the coronavirus could also create public disorder, price hikes and further shortages.
The military may be needed to help the police on the streets if the worst case scenario takes place.
There are already 1,500 troops on standby.
Whitehall fears the combination of a second wave of COVID-19, flu, severe flooding and a no-deal Brexit could cause a “systemic economic crisis with major impact on disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability”.
The document leaked to the Sun also warned the NHS could be overwhelmed by a “one in 40-year flu scenario alongside even a continuation of the current levels of C19 and significantly overwhelmed in any level of second peak”.
It also said inflation could “significantly impact social care providers due to increasing staff and supply coasts”.
A Government spokesman said: “As a responsible Government we continue to make extensive preparations for a wide range of scenarios, including the reasonable worst case. This is not a forecast or prediction of what will happen.”
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