Here, we discuss what was contained in the recent Operation Yellowhammer dossier leaked from the Johnson Cabinet
What is Operation Yellowhammer?
This is the plan written by the UK Treasury for a cohesive government approach to no-deal Brexit. Operation Yellowhammer is an internal plan, an attempt to predict and control the ensuing public decline of leaving without agreements in place. The change in mentality and functionality that leaving the EU without trade, finance, border and customs deals between the UK and member States will cause is considered by those in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat. These individuals are not elected members of parliament, but civil servants.
The source of the leak is unknown
Michael Gove, speaking to journalists on Sunday, said:
“It is the case, as everyone knows, that if we do have a no-deal exit there will inevitably be some disruption, some bumps in the road. That’s why we want a deal.
“But it is also the case that the UK government is far more prepared now than it was in the past.”
There are suggestions that the document was intentionally leaked by the PM’s Cabinet, to create the illusion of a successful no-deal Brexit should the outcome of 31st October be better than what is written in the Yellowhammer dossier.
A Number 10 source, speaking to the Huffington Post, said:
“This document is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available. It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders.”
What does Operation Yellowhammer predict?
1. Fresh food becoming more expensive as there will be less of it, with a special note in the dossier that “the poor” will be “disproportionately” affected by this price change
2. The UK will revert to “third country” status, with the European commission being noted as a source of “pressure” on member states to remain “unsympathetic”
3. Channel crossing trade disruptions that will last a minimum of 3 months, then returning to 50-70% of the ‘before Brexit’ speed
4. Medicine supplies will be limited, as some products have short shelf lives and can’t be stockpiled for 6 months, but they also depend on the import channel which is “vulnerable to severe delays”
5. Severe winter weather or flu could be enough to stretch medical resources, patients will have to wait longer for insulin and flu medicines
6. Fuel supply, e.g. petrol, will be severely disrupted as the government expect to set petrol import tariffs at 0% and this may cause two oil refineries to close, costing approximately 2000 jobs – ensuing strike action could put another fortnight of delays on petrol from these refineries
7. The hard Irish border is likely to return, as the plan to revert to a different model minus a deal is considered by the government to be “unsustainable because of economic, legal and biosecurity risks”
8. Protests and counter-protests are expected – the government think that police time will be majorly devoted to handling “community tensions” that might happen, e.g. pro-immigration vs anti-immigration groups
9. Small to medium adult social care providers might fail after 2-3 months due to the expected increase in inflation after the UK’s EU exit, with the larger systems expected to fail after 4-6 months – the government adds that there is “existing market fragility”
According to The Observer, a senior Whitehall source said:
“This is not Project Fear, this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal. These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios – not the worst case.”