Health providers, councils and businesses say they are ready for no-deal Brexit
- Credit: Archant
Over the next few days the Brexit negotiations will reach crunch point.
The prime minister insists the UK is ready to leave the EU without a deal, but in recent days, EU negotiator Michel Barnier has hinted there may still be a breakthrough, but also acknowledge there are "difficulties". With so much uncertainty still swirling around the halls of Westminster, the Hunts Post spoke to businesses and organisations across Huntingdonshire about their contingency plans for no-deal.
Councillors gathered for a meeting of Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) on October 9 and were told plans are in place for a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking at the meeting, held at Pathfinder House, in Huntingdon, Cllr Patrick Kadewere asked HDC leader, Councillor Graham Bull about the council's plans should there be no-deal and no extension for the UK on October 31.
Cllr Bull told the chamber: "I am not going to comment on Brexit itself, it would be silly of me to do so, but Brexit will have its impact. But what I will say is that we have regular meetings with officers, we have a Brexit officer in place, we regularly as a leadership team talk about what might or might not happen and I am fairly confident that given a no-deal exit we are able to deal with it.
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Boris Johnson has stated several times that he is confident that the UK is prepared for leaving without a deal and the Government's public information campaign will inform businesses and citizens about what to do.
Ministers insist there will be no food shortages, but don't deny some supply chains will be hit. They also say plans are in place to cope with the supply of medicines and some have been stockpiled.
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The Department of Health & Social Care has issued guidelines.
In a statement, the department said: "The National Audit Office recognises the enormous amount of work already undertaken by the department, and our partners in industry and the health and care system.
"We are better prepared for leaving without a deal than many realise, and on October 31 we will be ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances."
The Hunts Post contacted the North West Anglia Foundation Trust to ask if it was prepared in the event of a no-deal Brexit and it said it was working hard to ensure services continued as normal.
Caroline Walker, chief executive of the trust that runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: "Like all hospital trusts across the country, we are following the national guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care by identifying any actions we should take to ensure services can continue to run as normal, should there be any disruption as a result of Britain leaving the EU.
"The trust has an active contingency planning process to ensure readiness in the event of a no-deal EU exit. The trust continues to engage with local, regional and national partners and to review all guidance issued to ensure we respond to any changes to national planning assumptions and/or national guidance.
"We are working together with our health and social care colleagues to ensure greater resilience should there be any disruption after October 31."
The Le Mark Group, based in Houghton, is an international family-run business, employing about 50 members of staff.
The company has four specialist divisions supplying tapes, labels, floors and crew wear around the world. Manufacturing many of its products for a global market.
Managing director, Stuart Gibbons told the Hunts Post, the company had spent more than £2 million in preparation for Brexit.
"As a serious exporter, we have been working towards it for nearly two years and now, our efforts are escalating to ensure we are ready for the 'hard' 'soft' or 'medium' Brexit," explained Mr Gibbons.
He continued: "The building is a custom build and was purposely built to hold our increased Brexit stock.
"It is extremely frustrating not to know where we will be going, but we have no control over what Westminster are doing.
Le Mark has also bought a year's worth of US dollars and doubled its stock from around half a million pounds to more than a million.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Will your business or organisation experience problems after October 31? Do you have concerns about the future after October 31?
Write to: The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.