Mayor Reviews No-Deal Brexit Preparations With City Leaders
On 1 March, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, brought senior officials together from across the city to review how well the capital is prepared in the event that the UK leaves the European Union with no deal in place.
Sadiq is concerned that the Government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations means that there is still a chance that the UK could crash out with no agreement with the EU, either on March 29 or at a later date.
This could have potentially serious consequences on food supply, health services and medicines supply and delivering crucial services to vulnerable communities.
At the meeting on 01 March at City Hall, senior officials will discussed what can be done to reduce the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the lives of Londoners, short-term plans and risks and how best to communicate to the public, businesses and the voluntary sector.
Attendees will included the Met Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, Dany Cotton,Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Mike Brown, Commissioner of Transport for London, representatives from London’s local authorities and health services and senior officials from the London Resilience Forum – the partnership responsible for ensuring London’s preparedness in the event of major incidents and emergencies.
Sadiq Khan, said “I very much regret that this meeting [was] necessary. There is a very real risk that exiting the EU without a withdrawal agreement will cause significant harm to London and the UK’s economy and put at risk the provision of essential services that Londoners rely upon.
“This is made worse by the un-coordinated way in which the Government has approached no-deal planning, with Government departments disagreeing about likely impacts, and information not being provided to enable us to plan effectively.
“Even at this late stage, it is not clear what the Government expects from us, other than to provide information. We cannot be confident that Ministers will act effectively on it, or that they have the ability to co-ordinate across national, regional and local government, businesses and the voluntary sector to resolve problems as they arise and keep the public informed.
“Of course, it’s still uncertain about whether Parliament will prevent a no-deal scenario from occurring. I hope that MPs will – it should never have been on the table. But, if Parliament does not rule it out, the impact could start to be felt immediately, from panic buying to businesses cancelling their investment plans.”
It is possible that Brexit could be delayed, but a no-deal exit not ruled out. A short-term extension of Article 50 could have different impacts to leaving without a deal on 29 March this meeting also took into consideration the impact that this scenario may have.
Last year, the Mayor asked the London Resilience Forum to establish the impact of a no-deal Brexit on a number of critical areas. The Forum indicated that there has been a lack of information from the Government to inform local planners and individual organisations of the expected outcomes of a no-deal Brexit.
This, coupled with either commercial or security sensitivities on some of the key issues – such as food, fuel, border disruption and essential medicine supplies – has severely constrained the ability of any local-level resilience planning.