Coun­cil ‘work­ing to prevent’ Brexit food and drugs shortage

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - News - BY RICHARD WHITHOUSE

The leader of Corn­wall Coun­cil has urged peo­ple not to panic over Brexit, and said he was con­fi­dent Corn­wall will not see food or medicine short­ages.

Cllr Adam Payn­ter spoke about the prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tions of leav­ing the EU ahead of his meet­ing with chief EU Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier next month.

Cllr Payn­ter said the coun­cil has been iden­ti­fy­ing pos­si­ble risks which might oc­cur as a re­sult of Brexit and mak­ing sure it min­imises them.

He said: “Brexit is a big risk for us, but what we have done is look at what is the quan­tity of that risk and how can we pro­tect our­selves against it.

“There are things like the ex­change rate and in­fla­tion and what the im­pact of that will be on what we do and the ser­vices we pro­vide.

“We have had to look at the stores of in­sulin and other medicines on March 31 and what we would do if that dries up. We have looked at what hap­pens if the ports and bor­ders are stopped and noth­ing comes in, if fuel stops com­ing in and su­per­mar­kets don’t have any­thing on their shelves.

“We have been look­ing at all these is­sues and have been work­ing with cen­tral govern­ment to en­sure that they do not hap­pen.

“We will know more over the com­ing weeks but deal or no deal has im­pli­ca­tions for the risks we have iden­ti­fied.

“Peo­ple would be con­cerned if there is no fuel in the fill­ing sta­tions and food in the su­per­mar­kets – we can’t go more than two weeks with­out food. That would be a dis­as­ter. I don’t think that will hap­pen but we need to work to­wards en­sur­ing that wouldn’t hap­pen.”

Cllr Payn­ter said he had re­ceived emails from mem­bers of the pub­lic rais­ing con­cerns about medicine and food sup­plies post-Brexit and had been re­ply­ing and say­ing the coun­cil was do­ing all it could to prevent such sce­nar­ios.

He said: “I am not try­ing to scare­mon­ger, I am try­ing to be re­al­is­tic.

“I have thought about this but I am cer­tainly not pan­ick­ing.

“We need to think about the pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios and make sure the coun­cil is not ex­pos­ing it­self to ex­cess risk.”

The Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lor com­pared Brexit with the so-called mil­len­nium bug, say­ing that it is hoped that there would be no ma­jor change seen af­ter March 29.

He said: “There won’t be a seis­mic change when ev­ery­one wakes up the next morn­ing.

“I would urge peo­ple not to panic on that day.”

‘I am not try­ing to scare­mon­ger, I am try­ing to be re­al­is­tic’

Cllr Adam Payn­ter

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