Supply Chain News

Brexit: Will the United Kingdom be Able to Feed Itself?

For the UK, currently facing the very real prospect of a hard or no deal Brexit, complications in trading with the EU and other countries, coupled with vastly increased customs processing times, could lead to significant food and medicine shortages.

Level of Food Self-Sufficiency

Most Western countries don't have to think too much about their level of food self-sufficiency.

Established trade relationships with countries around the world mean that any deficit at home can be easily, swiftly, and usually cheaply compensated via imports.

For the UK though, currently facing the very real prospect of a hard or no deal Brexit, complications in trading with the EU and other countries, coupled with vastly increased customs processing times, could lead to shortages, the National Farmers' Union has warned.

Currently, the UK produces only 60 percent of the food it needs to feed the population domestically.

As our infographic below shows, this is a marked decrease in the level of 74 percent seen in 1987.

Food is of course not the only sector which could face shortages.

Pharmacists warned this week that they are already experiencing a surge in shortages of common medicines, coupled with "vastly increased" prices.

Hard Brexit: Will The UK Be Able To Feed Itself?

May's Brexit Deal Rejected: What Now?

Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by MPs and in no uncertain terms.

In what proved to be the biggest defeat for any UK government in the modern parliamentary era, the House of Commons threw her plan out by 432 votes to 202.

So, What Now for Brexit?

The answer to that question is multi-faceted and, currently, unknown.

More will become clear after today's vote of no confidence result comes in, but looking more long term, what does the British public think the consequence for Brexit will be? 

As a new survey by YouGov shows, a plurality (35 percent) think the UK is now staring down the barrel of a no deal Brexit.

Fittingly, the second most common response was 'don't know' while the third was the daunting prospect of yet another referendum.

When broken down by how respondents voted in the 2016 referendum, there is a clear difference of opinion, perhaps driven on both sides by optimism, between remain and leave voters.

A plurality of 'Remainers' (32 percent) think there will now be a second referendum, while close to a majority of 'Leavers' (48 percent) say a no deal exit is most likely.

May's Brexit deal rejected: what now?

No-Deal Brexit - Statistics & Facts

As 2018 drew to a close Britain, and the European Union finally reached a withdrawal agreement on how Brexit would proceed, following two years of tense negotiations.

Despite this, the deal must first be ratified by the UK parliament and it is unlikely that the plan has enough support from MPs to be approved.

Initially, this vote was supposed to take place on December 11, 2018, but fearing it would be rejected, Theresa May delayed it until January 2019.

Although May survived a no-confidence vote in the immediate aftermath of this decision, it is far from clear she has enough political capital to force the deal through.

If the deal is rejected the default scenario is a no-deal Brexit, which would mean that the existing trade, travel and legal arrangements that have been in place prior to this point would suddenly cease to apply.

There would also be no 21-month transitional period, as this is contingent on there being an agreement between the two parties.

It is feared this may lead to huge problems in and around the port of Dover, where new customs checks could cause approximately 40 mile-long queues of traffic.

Based on its original forecasts for 2019, the Bank of England predicted a no-deal Brexit would lead to an eight percent drop in the UK's gross domestic product, as well as a 6.5 percent increase in inflation.

In terms of job losses, there could be about 750 thousand jobs lost in Great Britain, with 150 jobs lost in London alone.

There are also concerns for the fate of EU nationals residing in Britain, as well as British citizens currently resident in the EU whose legal status will be uncertain without an agreement. As of 2017, there were approximately 293 thousand British citizens resident in Spain, as well as a further 152.9 thousand in France and 96.5 thousand in Germany.

Although a no-deal is the default scenario should May's deal be rejected there are various other outcomes which may occur. A strong possibility is another general election or even a second referendum on Brexit itself. Even at this late stage, no one can say with any certainty what will happen next, although with the clock running down to March 29, 2019, we may soon find out.

Search: In a Chaotic Week for UK Politics, What's Next for Brexit?

Related: European Union Leaders Agree Brexit Deal - So What Are Your Supply Chain Risks?

European Union Leaders Agree Brexit Deal - So What Are Your Supply Chain Risks?

Related Brexit Papers

Download the White Paper

Managing Risk in Your S&OP/Integrated Business Planning Process
In this report, Aberdeen examines risk management from the demand side, the supply side, and the known areas of expected change resulting from the impact of Brexit and U.S. tax and trade policies. Download Now!


Download the eBook

Getting Brexit-Ready in 2018
There are great long-term opportunities from Brexit, but companies need to be preparing their Supply Chain: Your Brexit Competitive Advantage for the changes that are sure to come, and ready when they arrive. Download Now!


Download the White Paper

Supply Chain: Your Brexit Competitive Advantage
As the official notification for Brexit gets closer, there are many unknowns for businesses in terms of how changes may affect them as well as many impacts that are becoming clearer. Download Now!


More Resources on Brexit


Article Topics
Trends   Supply Chain   Global Trade   Brexit   All topics


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