UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has said a no-deal Brexit is likely to result in further austerity measures and budget cuts, as the government is forced to “refocus” its priorities.
Speaking during a visit in Scotland on Friday, the chancellor of the exchequer said, “In no-deal circumstances we would have to refocus government priorities so that government was concentrated on the circumstances that we found ourselves.”
Details of government preparations for a no-deal Brexit, dubbed Operation Yellowhammer, came to light after a photographer snapped a picture of the document, held by Treasury Minister John Glen outside Downing Street.
The document revealed that Whitehall department can apply for additional funding, from a government pot of around £1.5 billion (almost $2 billion at the current GBP/USD exchange rate) but should first try “internal reprioritization” to come up with the funds for Brexit-related contingency plans.
Hammond is set to present his Autumn Budget to parliament later this year, and with many public services, including the NHS, in dire need of funding, keeping all departments and stakeholders contempt will be no easy task.
Under the Tory-LibDem coalition government, then-Chancellor George Osborne set about slashing the UK’s public debt, implementing a raft of controversial budget cuts, which were heavily opposed by the Labour Party.