[Brexit Chat] Stockpiling For Brexit

I was browsing Jack Monroe’s blog and came across this:

I’d never considered that I might want to stockpile in the event of a “Nuclear Brexit” but now it’s playing on my mind. Should I stock up “just in case”? Anyone else making plans?


Nope. There was a segment on Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show a while back and I can’t believe folks are stockpiling. Pure madness in my eyes.


Ordinarily I’d agree, but the fiasco that Brexit planning has been so far makes me wonder if it might be wise to do something. As Jack states, you can always donate it to a foodbank if nothing comes of it.

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No need to go nuts… We’ve been overbuying food for months… couple of quid here and there… nothing special, Now have 2 cupboards & a freezer full of goods just in case shopping becomes difficult/too expensive for a period.

If the politicians see sense and actually arrange a deal then I just spend less for a few weeks to eat it down again, no harm done.

Also been increasing prescription orders for a while to create a buffer.

Going silly is, well, silly… doing nothing is on the other extreme.


Not yet. There is still a couple of months for this cluster fuck to play out and things will become clearer during that time.

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I’m at the point now where I honestly can’t envisage Brexit happening :eyes:

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Who is this idiot? Spoiled their ballot??! It’s incapable, non–voting, Remainer numpties like this that were the marginal difference on the day and are the reason this country is in this fucking mess.


I’m stockpiling Freddos. I’ve no idea if there’ll be a shortage, but there are some things you simply mustn’t take any chances with.


In a nuclear Brexit they’ll be like a quid each, I’d stockpile them over gold!

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Good satire. Enjoyed it.


Project Fear. Pay no attention!

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Then why have both just checked for a Freddos hedge fund? :wink:


There’s a theory that no deal is so catastrophic that if (well, when) May’s plan is voted down they’ll just unilaterally revoke article 50 rather than deal with the consequences (presumably with a promise to renegotiate and try again later).

Problem with that is it’s more or less politically impossible, given the rhetoric over the last couple of years. I bet May regrets saying ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’ so often now…

If there’s a solution I really hope we find it, because the clock’s ticking.



I have not believed in the scare mongering and it is a shame I had to dig out some of the information to back this up from this Labour Leave/Global Britain report, which tries to debunk a lot of the no-deal myths. I have tried to use the references cited in the blur. Apologies for the wall of text that is to follow!

There will not be shortages of medicines.

Stories about potential shortages of medicines seem to have originated in the belief that there would be difficulty in authorising drugs when the European Medical Agency left the UK. Once the UK government made clear that we would continue to recognise drugs authorised by the EMA the original basis evaporated.

The story then morphed into fears of unspecified supply problems, notably of Insulin – given credence by the PM without any explanation of why there might be problems.

  • Insulin is supplied by a Danish company – Novo Nordisk. It is not going to withhold it. The EU has stated is not going to ban its export. The UK is not going to impede its import. The company is keeping four month’s supply in the UK. Pharmaphorum: Novo Nordisk CEO reassures UK patients over Brexit insulin supplies 17th September 2018 (accessed via: https://pharmaphorum.com/news/novo-nordisk-doubles-uk-insulin-stockpile-in-case-of-nodeal-brexit/) The UK runs a surplus with the EU in pharmaceutical products. In evidence to the DEXEU Select Committee, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said: “45 million packs of medicines leave the UK every month and go to Europe, and 37 million packs of medicines leave the continent and come to the UK”.17th May 2018.
  • The WTO’s Pharmaceutical Tariff Elimination Agreement automatically means that tariffs do not apply to finished medicines. The Agreement covers 10,000 medicinal products across the European Union, Canada, United States, Japan and Norway. It covers almost 90% of the world’s pharmaceutical trade. UK Parliament, 6th December 2018, (accessed via: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmbeis/382/38205.htm#footnote-178).
  • The Medicines story now depends on the supposed risk of tailbacks of lorries trying - see point below - to get to and through Calais impeding imports to the UK.

There will be no shortages of food or sandwiches.

Stories that the UK will run out of food and sandwiches seem to have originated in the belief that the UK would have to check 100% of animal, plant and food products entering the UK. This assumed that the UK would still operate the EU Customs Code (misinterpreted and rigidly applied) – whereas we will be free to set our own rules on imports.

  • DEFRA made clear that it would continue to base Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary checks on risk, that the riskiness of consignments from the EU would not change post Brexit, so it would not carry out any more physical checks after Brexit than before.
    • So, this story, too, now depends on the supposed risk of tailbacks of lorries trying to get to and through Calais, impeding imports to the UK (see below).

Exports through Calais

Almost all the scare stories about shortages of medicines, food, water etc in the UK assume that Calais will – either through lack of preparation or deliberately – slow down the transit of lorries from the UK; this will mean ferries cannot unload; which means ferries will be unable to return to the UK to reload; so lorries will back up from Dover and Folkestone up the M20. The resulting congestion on Kentish roads is assumed to affect not just outbound lorries but also incoming lorries. However:

  • France is actively determined to prevent delays at Calais for fear of losing trade to Belgian and Dutch ports.
  • The National, Regional and Local authorities in France have expressed their determination to maintain a smooth flow of commerce on which the prosperity of this depressed area of France depends.
    • The Prefecture says: “The sole objective is to guarantee the free flow of cross channel trade and to preserve the competitiveness of the ports of the region against competition from the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge”. « Tout l’objectif est de garantir la fluidité des liaisons transmanche et de préserver la compétitivité des ports de la région face à la concurrence des ports de Rotterdam, Anvers et Zeebruges. La préfecture et les services de l’État en région Hauts-de-France 18th July 2018.
    • The Mayor of Calais says delays would be “economic suicide”. BBC: “French officials dismiss UK fears of Calais ‘go-slow’” https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-45990243 26th October 2018
  • A deliberate go-slow at Calais would be a breach of three treaty obligations:
    • The original WTO Treaty forbids discrimination against goods from any country.
    • The Trade Facilitation Agreement, which came into force in February 2017, requires signatories (including all EU member states) to facilitate – not hinder – trade. Border checks should be proportionate to risk;
    • The EU’s own Constitution requires them to co-operate with adjacent countries to establish an area of good neighbourliness. Treaty for European Union Article 8. 1. “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation”.
  • The French authorities are taking tangible steps to eliminate potential delays:
    • Adding three extra lorry lanes at Calais to offset the 2min checks they expect per lorry.
    • Creating a Border Inspection Post (BIP) to inspect live animals and food 12kms from Calais to avoid congestion. (Hauliers will need to open a Transit document to cover the journey from port to BIP. Ferry terminals will probably demand that vehicles carrying animals and relevant food products have these formalities organised before they embark).
    • Acquiring a scanner that can inspect freight trains destined for the Channel tunnel at 30 km an hour. Les Echos 4th October 2018.
    • The French government has introduced a law before the Assemblée Nationale giving it all necessary powers to ensure the smooth flow of goods in the event of a no deal Brexit [Projet De Loi, habilitant le Gouvernement à prendre par ordonnances les mesures de préparation au retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’Union européenne, (Procédure accélérée) 8th Nov 2018.].
    • The French Minster responsible for Brexit preparedness: “We absolutely have to prepare for the worst, that is to say that in March there is no legal relationship with our British friends. We do not know what is going to happen, which is why the Prime Minister has asked us to prepare for a no-deal Brexit – for the worst-case scenario.” [Gérard Darmanin, also in charge of customs, told France Bleu Nord radio… Daily Express 3rd October 2018.]
    • “Recruitment [of 700 staff] in the customs sector has begun because even with a deal, we don’t know exactly what type of future relations we’ll have with the UK, so controls may be needed. That means customs officers, infrastructure and parking areas. It also means modernizing our controls to make sure they’re as smooth as possible and don’t cause traffic jams on arrival in France.” [Mme Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs. French Embassy, London, 4th December 2018.]
  • One third of lorries going from Dover to Calais are returning empty (reflecting the EU’s huge trade surplus with the UK). So, the Calais authorities will have a third fewer declarations to clear than Dover.
  • The French are acutely aware that other channel ports – especially Zeebrugge, Antwerp and Rotterdam – are eager to win trade away from Calais. It is estimated that other roll-off-roll-on ports could handle 40% of Dover/Calais trade.
  • The EU Commission, too, recognises the need to facilitate trade through the Short Straits and authorised: “Customs authorities may issue authorisations for the use of facilitation measures provided for in the Union Customs Code, when economic operators request them, and subject to relevant requirements being met. Ensuring a level-playing field and smooth trade flows will be particularly challenging in the areas with the densest goods traffic with the United Kingdom. The Commission is working with Member States to help find solutions in full respect of the current legal framework.” Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30th March 2019: A Contingency Action Plan 13/11/2018 COM (2108) 880.

Operation Brock could handle tailbacks in the unlikely event that they occur, so incoming lorries will not be seriously delayed.

Operation Brock, with enhanced capacity and improved traffic routing, will replace Operation Stack ahead of Brexit (though permanent lorry parks may also be needed in future, regardless of Brexit, in case past problems at Calais recur).

  • Operation Stack has been activated on 211 days between 1998-2015 as a result of:
    • Blockades of Calais by fishing boats
    • Industrial disputes on ferries
    • Immigrants besieging security fences
    • Fires and breakdowns in the Channel Tunnel
    • Severe weather in the English Channel
    • Snow blocking roads around Calais

Operation Stack House of Commons Transport Committee 23rd May 2016.

• In summer 2015 Operation Stack was in force almost continuously for more than three weeks;

  • At the peak, 7,000 Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) were queued on the M20, taking 36 hours to work their way through;

Planes WILL continue to fly to and from the EU.

The EU has announced that it will allow UK airlines to fly over, land in and return from EU airports even if there is no Withdrawal Agreement, subject to the UK reciprocating. The EU announced this in principle on 13th November 2018.

The report has many more points about a no-deal Brexit, like WTO status and more on UK planning, if you are bothered about reading it.


Thank you Kevyn for digging that out. Fascinating reading and lots of detail that I (sad sod) find interesting. On a personal level I am not remotely concerned about leaving with no deal. Despite her regret at saying so I do believe the PM was/still is correct in that no deal is better than a bad deal. Do we have a bad deal now? I have no clue, but I cannot influence the outcome. Keep calm and drink wine. R-


Very informative and the most genuine info on anything Brexit that I have read.

Thanks. Brexit is such a complicated issue and solid information is hard to come by.


Worth pointing out that the source of that text is a campaigning organisation who have wanted Britain out of the EU for decades.

I’m not stockpiling, but it’s always worth checking the source of data and what might be behind the information you’re reading (on both sides).


Probably one of the best posts on this forum this year :wink:.
Anyone remember the fuel crisis in 2000? This came about purely as people stock piled fuel. People filled up their cars even when they didn’t need it.
Result was shortages.
Same happens at supermarkets over festive period - lots of people buy loads of stuff (throwing quite a lot away) and the shelves get empty.
My local ASDA yesterday 2pm looked like a plague of locusts had been through it - perhaps they were testing brexit scenarios???

The country won’t ground to a halt unless people go & ‘panic’ buy!!!


the same people that didn’t know the 2007 recession would happen are the same who’s saying the UK future will be bleak without a deal


Ha! Yes I remember this! Remember sitting behind a guy at the Asda petrol station in Perth as he was filling up 4 Jerry cans with fuel

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