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Tue, 12 Nov 2019 11:09 GMT

UK Cabinet Ramps Up No-Deal Brexit Preparations


7Dnews London

Wed, 19 Dec 2018 06:37 GMT

The British Cabinet met on December 18th to discuss ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, after Prime Minister Theresa May postponed Parliament's vote on her divorce agreement until mid-January.

The discussions resulted in £2 billion of available government funding being allocated to the different departments to prepare for and potentially absorb economic damage.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire told the BBC that there would be "consequences" of a no-deal exit but "a lot of work" was going into minimising the disruption if it happened.

"We have been taking 'no deal' seriously for quite some considerable period," he told BBC Radio 4's Today. "It's not what we want to do, it's not what we still expect to do... but I think it is right and proper that we maintain our work on preparing for no deal, however reluctantly."

But May's Cabinet is divided between Brexiteers who think a no-deal departure could be managed to ease the economic shock and more pro-EU lawmakers who say a no-deal Brexit must be avoided at all costs.

With the UK's departure from the bloc just over 100 days away, it remains unclear whether the country will leave with a deal or crash out without one, an outcome that risks touching off gridlock at ports and shortages of goods as well as plunging the economy into recession.

The British Chambers of Commerce said on December 18th that economic growth and business investment in 2019 were likely to be lower than previously forecast because of the continuing uncertainty, AP reported.

Director-General Adam Marshall said, "With just over 100 days to go until the UK leaves the EU and no clear road ahead, businesses are having to take action, delaying or pulling hiring and investment plans and, in some cases, moving operations elsewhere in order to maintain hard-won supply chains."

The British government and the EU sealed a divorce deal last month, but May postponed a parliamentary vote on it last week when it became clear legislators would overwhelmingly reject it. She tried to win changes from the EU to sweeten the deal for reluctant MPs but was rebuffed by the bloc at a summit in Brussels on December 13th.

May insisted on Monday that she could win "clarification" from the EU to reassure sceptical lawmakers before Parliament votes on the deal during the week of January 14th.