Britons warned to prepare for worst-case scenario

A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport (above), mobile phone users, people who require medication and possibly even sheep breeders.
A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport (above), mobile phone users, people who require medication and possibly even sheep breeders.PHOTO: REUTERS
A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport, mobile phone users (above), people who require medication and possibly even sheep breeders.
A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport, mobile phone users (above), people who require medication and possibly even sheep breeders.PHOTO: REUTERS
A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport, mobile phone users, people who require medication (above) and possibly even sheep breeders.
A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport, mobile phone users, people who require medication (above) and possibly even sheep breeders.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport, mobile phone users, people who require medication and possibly even sheep breeders (above)
A no-deal Brexit would cause upheaval affecting a vast array of people, including passengers at Heathrow Airport, mobile phone users, people who require medication and possibly even sheep breeders (above)PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • A popular London wine merchant became the latest business last month to start stockpiling in case Britain splits from the European Union without a deal in March.

The possibility of Britain breaking off from its main trading partner without any arrangements in place will grow if the British Parliament rejects the draft withdrawal agreement.

Doom-and-gloom predictions about life after a no-deal Brexit are plentiful and highly politically charged. The truth is that no one really knows what will happen because Britain is the first to leave the bloc.

But here are some things that London is telling Britons to brace themselves for in the first days of a worst-case scenario pullout.

GROUNDED AT HEATHROW

Heathrow and other big airports can be a nightmare at the best of times. But planes getting grounded when Brexit strikes at 2300 GMT on March 29 because airlines lose their licences would create chaos that would ripple across the world.

London says it would envisage granting European carriers special permission to keep flying - and that it would expect the 27 EU countries to do the same.

RIP-OFF ROAMING

Free roaming would no longer apply, and mobile phone operators in the United Kingdom can start charging extra for subscribers who pop off to "the Continent". London is also urging people in Northern Ireland to watch out for inadvertent roaming when straying too close to the EU border with Ireland.

FORMS, FORMS, FORMS

Thousands of companies that do business with Europe would have to fill out reams of Customs and duties declarations.

Tourists who want to rent a car may need to get international driving permits because their UK licences would now be invalid.

And even pets might need to jump through new administrative hoops that would require them to have new passports.

 
 
 

People might want to check theirs as well. Those that expire within six months of travel might need to be renewed in advance.

DRUG DILEMMA

Officials are talking to drug companies about creating a six-week "buffer stock" on top of the three months they already have in place.

This should help cover any short-term disruptions at the border. Britain will also waive the need for EU companies to re-test their drugs under new rules.

SHOPPERS BEWARE

The government says that "increased costs and slower processing times" for payments made in euros are a possibility.

Parcel deliveries could also get more expensive because waivers for certain import and sales taxes would expire.

FLICKS AND TUNES

Catching up on the latest Netflix releases while coasting on a high-speed Eurostar train may suddenly become a whole lot harder.

Britons could theoretically lose access to streaming services while abroad - everything from Spotify to Amazon Prime - because the United Kingdom would no longer be in Europe's "digital single market".

And the Eurostar service itself might be in trouble because old licences of UK train operators in Europe would be invalid.

PORK PIES

Britons are proud of their Stilton cheese and Scotch whisky. But the status of everything from Cornish pasties to Melton Mowbray pork pies would be up in the air because they would lose their "geographical indication" status in Europe.

SURPRISES

A host of other industries and products could also be affected.

Britain would have to come up with its own warning stickers for packs of cigarettes because the current ones are protected by the EU image library.

Imported sperm donations could face delays or stoppages.

Caviar supplies could start running out because Britain would not be able to trade in goods that are covered by European endangered species rules.

Also facing possible disruption: breeders of pedigree British horses and sheep.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2018, with the headline 'Britons warned to prepare for worst-case scenario'. Print Edition | Subscribe