Supermarkets told to ‘stockpile food by ministers’ over imminent no-deal Brexit
Supermarkets have been urged to stockpile food amid fears of panic buying in case of a no-deal Brexit, it is reported.
Ministers have reportedly warned them there could be vegetable shortages for up to three months.
Suppliers of medicines, medical devices and vaccines have also been told to stockpile six weeks' worth at secure locations in the UK, according to the Sunday Times.
Talks with the European Union remain deadlocked, raising the possibility Britain will crash out with no trade deal in place next month.
But it has raised concern a no-deal could spark mass panic buying.
There are fears it would be even worse than at the start of the coronavirus crisis in March, when bog roll bandits flocked to supermarkets to buy up stock.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to talk on Sunday to the European Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen.
Both sides have now warned an agreement is unlikely to be reached.
He will take control of planning of the country opts for no deal and will chair an exit operations committee to prepare how it responds, according to reports.
But a senior figure told the newspaper the chances of a deal with the EU were now no better than 20%.
The source claimed the offer from the EU remains "unacceptable".
Brits face Christmas toy rationing with even the traditional turkey dinner at risk
A senior consultant to one of the supermarkets claimed ministers had said to prepare for no-deal a week ago.
This weekend the message is now that it is no-deal, the consultant told the paper.
The consultant added: “Supermarkets and ministers are hugely worried about panic buying.
“They saw what happened over Covid when people started hoarding toilet rolls and know how quickly it can go wrong.
"That will be nothing compared to what will happen.
"Meat supplies will be fine and fruit comes from South America but there are likely to be shortages of vegetables for three months."
A government source told the BBC: "The prime minister will leave no stone unturned in this process, but he is absolutely clear: any agreement must be fair and respect the fundamental position that the UK will be a sovereign nation in three weeks' time."
The main area proving difficult is how close Britain should stick to the EU economic rules in the future, according to reports.
The PM’s month-long national lockdown in November also led to bog roll bandits flocking to stores to stock up on toilet paper.
Panic-buyers also rushed to stock up on pasta, bread and milk, while shoppers flocked to IKEA and Primark, where queues were seen in Grimsby, Lincs.
A Tesco customer said: "I have not seen queues like it since March.”
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