Brexit: Scottish Government explores '˜new routes' for essential supplies

New routes into Scotland are being explored in an effort to ensure essential supplies are not held up by delays at ports caused by a No Deal Brexit, MSPs have been told.

Food availability and prices could also be hit with the poorest set to lose out, Scotland's Brexit secretary Michael Russell said in a Holyrood statement.

The Scottish Government has activated its emergency resilience response to deal with the prospect of leaving the UK without a deal, while the police are preparing for "civil contingencies."

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The Brexit minister warned a No Deal scenario will cause "irreparable damage" to the country and society.

Brexit Secretary Mike Russell

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The UK Government's failure to share information is also hampering preparations in Scotland, Mr Russell said.

The Scottish Government, including Transport Scotland, is working with distributors, purchasers, suppliers, transport providers and ports to "fully assess the impact and identify what can be done to mitigate disruption", Mr Russell told MSPs in a statement today.

He added: "It's our aim to secure the best flow of essential goods into Scotland using existing routes or developing new ones."

Plans are also ongoing to deal with the supply of medicines, medical devices and the workforce for health and social care, amid concerns over supply problems amid stockpiling of medical devices and drugs.

Mr Russell said a "no deal Brexit" is not yet inevitable.

But he added: "As a responsible Government we cannot wait any longer. The consequences and risks are too pressing and too severe.

“The Scottish Government is ready to operate Brexit arrangements at very short notice but will continue to build preparedness and resilience.

“Under the leadership of the Deputy First Minister the SGoRR mechanism is now in operation providing a single clear, coordinating structure.

“But let me say that whilst this Government will do everything we can to prepare, we must not let anyone believe we can do everything.

“The nebulous approach of the UK Government to decision making on Brexit has meant that it is impossible to know when these plans might need to go into effect.

“What a tragedy it is that we must take action for a ‘no deal’ exit as a result of the UK Government, to mitigate against the severe impacts on Scotland and the irreparable damage to our economy, our people and our society."