COUNCILS around the country fear Brexit will lead to food shortages, a crisis in social care and cuts to their budgets.
Reports written by almost 30 authorities about possible impacts of leaving the EU next year reveal they are preparing for a range of situations, including travel disruption, medicine shortages and having less money to provide services.
The news comes after Dover council this week warned that a ‘no deal’ scenario could lead to up to 10,000 lorries a day parking along 13 miles of the M20 in Kent. It said a permanent solution to border control problems was unlikely until ‘2023 at the earliest’.
The documents, obtained by Sky News using the Freedom of Information Act, also show many councils are concerned about what will happen to local EU-funded projects, while others are frustrated they cannot make plans due to a lack of clarity from the government.
Bristol council warned of ‘social unrest or disillusionment’ if ‘neither Leave or Remain voters feel their concerns are being met’ post-Brexit.
Pembrokeshire county council listed 19 possible impacts, with only one — a drop in population — deemed positive. Meanwhile, East Sussex county council warned of a social care crisis, with 11 per cent of its workforce in the sector from the EU.
Shetland Islands council estimated that, without a deal, 86 per cent of its sheep farms would become loss-making, compared with less than half now.
David Simmonds, deputy leader of the Local Government Association, said: ‘This is about preparing for practical implications and many of these practical implications are bad news.’
But Jayne Adye, director of pro-Brexit campaign Get Britain Out, said some of the reports were ‘ill-informed’.
She said: ‘Brexit means the UK government will have complete control over the substantial amount we currently send to the European Union budget.’
She added the idea that food prices would rise and Britain would have nowhere else outside the EU to sell food was ‘nonsensical’.
The department for exiting the EU said: ‘The government remains confident that we will secure a positive agreement with the EU.’ It added it was planning for Brexit ‘under all scenarios’.