Senior civil servants have warned that U.K. businesses are not ready for a "no-deal Brexit" and the nation may experience shortages of fuel, food and medicine in such a situation.
A government report marked as sensitive but obtained by The Sunday Times stated that ports along the English Channel could see major disruption that could go on for three months if the U.K. leaves the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31, as looks increasingly likely.
The report was reportedly not a "worst-case scenario," but rather a look at what would be well within the normal realm of possibilities in a no-deal Brexit. Along with trading troubles with nations on the European continent, the report also outlined the impact of a hard border in Ireland.
Import tariffs on petrol could lead to the shuttering of two oil refiners and 2,000 job losses. Fuel distribution also stands to be impacted, with supply to London and the southeast of England possibly being disrupted.
The report also envisions the cost of food rising and medical supplies potentially running short. There is also the possibility of conflicts at sea as hundreds of European fishing vessels may enter, or already be, in U.K. waters illegally when Brexit takes effect.
When contacted by news outlets, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said it does not comment on leaked documents, Reuters reported. The cabinet minister in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, Michael Gove, said the report was an old one and that preparations for a no-deal scenario had advanced since it was published. However, he admitted that a no-deal exit would cause some "bumps in the road."