The British government has a robust contingency plan for a situation where the country leaves the European Union in March next year without reaching a deal with the bloc, a snap photo of a state document has revealed.
The photo circulating in the British media on Thursday showed contents of a document related to Civil Contingencies Secretariat which apparently outlined the details of an operation for the no-deal Brexit scenario.
The operation, called Yellowhammer, aims to facilitate the delivery of services at the time of increased uncertainty resulting from a no-deal Brexit.
The Civil Contingencies Secretariat, established in July 2001, is part of the Cabinet Office and its main responsibility is to see to scenarios like a flu pandemic. The body previously responded in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.
The operation is named after yellowhammer, a bird found across large parts of the UK which many say is at risk and has suffered a recent population decline.
The exposed document says the government bodies, like the Treasury, will seek to build a “communications architecture” that can “help maintain confidence in the event of contingency plans being triggered”.
While emphasizing the “particularly important” nature of the financial services for the UK after a no-deal Brexit, the document also highlights the need for an smooth access to “aviation and rail access to the EU”.
However, the document suggested that the Treasury would earmark no extra cash to the government departments in case of a no-deal Brexit as it urged the bodies to fund their preparations through “internal reprioritization” of resources.
The British government has earlier denied reports it is concerned with the aftermaths of a no-deal Brexit despite warnings from many experts and former officials that the scenario could cause real chaos in the country.
Fears for a no-deal Brexit intensified in early July when the EU said it would not accept UK’s proposals for a divorce deal. The two sides continue with their tough negotiations.
Opposition politicians reacted to the revelations about Yellowhammer operation, with Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, saying the leaks suggested the government was far behind the public expectations in its way of treating the Brexit.
“With the Operation Yellowhammer revelation, we now know the government is preparing for Brexit in the same way they’d approach catastrophes like flooding, a disease outbreak or a terrorist attack,” said Bradshaw, adding, “This is not what anyone voted for in 2016.”