Food shortages '˜unfortunate reality' of Brexit no deal, warn Scots economists

Scottish economists have warned food shortages, medicine stockpiles and queues at the UK border would be the 'unfortunate reality' of a no-deal Brexit.

Food shortages may occur in the event of a no deal Brexit, economists have warned. Picture: Daniel Case/WikiCommons

The respected Fraser of Allander Institute said it was “hard to believe” that the UK Government was now openly discussing the possibility of failing to reach an agreement with the EU.

“The reality of a ‘no deal’ scenario is beginning to hit home, with talk of food shortages, drug stockpiles and log-jams at the border” Fraser of Allander Institute At the weekend International Trade Secretary Liam Fox put the chances of a no deal Brexit at 60-40, blaming the “intransigence” of the European Commission.

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But the Fraser of Allander researchers said such an approach was not a “credible economic strategy” and warned that the UK was in danger of “sleepwalking” into a disastrous outcome.

The institute has previously forecast that if the UK fails to get a deal and returns to World Trade Organisation rules, up to 80,000 Scottish workers could lose their jobs.

“The overwhelming view amongst the majority of economists is that such a dislocation of trade patterns with our largest trading partner will have significant negative implications for jobs, investment and prosperity,” it said in a blog published on Monday.

“Even if you disagree with such a view…the adjustment shock, not to mention the implications for different sectors, will still be highly significant in the short to medium term. “The reality of a ‘no deal’ scenario is beginning to hit home, with talk of food shortages, drug stockpiles and log-jams at the border.

“Whilst some of this is likely to be overblown, such issues will be the unfortunate reality of the UK crashing out of the EU.”

The institute also published the results of a survey of around 350 Scottish businesses, with almost half (44 per cent) stating that Brexit had already had a damaging effect.

A third said the result of the 2016 referendum had harmed their investment activity, with a similar proportion highlighting problems with staff recruitment.

The vast majority of companies (75 per cent) also said they had not received enough information about leaving the EU to allow them to plan for the different possible outcomes of Brexit.

A UK Government spokesman said: “Our White Paper outlined our vision for a principle and pragmatic plan which will ensure that all of the UK, including Scotland, is well placed to capitalise on the opportunities of Brexit.

“We firmly believe it is in the interests of both the EU and the UK to strike a mutually beneficial deal. That remains the goal on both sides and we are confident that this will be achieved.”