05:26 GMT +324 March 2019
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    A demonstrator holds EU and Union flags during an anti-Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, December 17, 2018

    Thousands of Brits Scramble to Stockpile Food Due to 'No Deal' Brexit Fears

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    The impending departure of the UK from the European Union has created a cottage industry, with several companies particularly opportunistically selling 'survival' products.

    'Brexit survival kits' costing hundreds of pounds and comprised of basic consumer essentials — including enough freeze-dried food to last 30-days, fire-starting gel and a water filter — that may be scarce or unavailable in the event of a 'no deal' secession are being sold by a number of firms.

    Among them is Emergency Food Storage UK, which dubs itself the country's "premier supplier of emergency preparedness kits" launched a dedicated 'Brexit Box' in December and claims to have sold in excess of 600 since.

    Despite ministers repeatedly dismissing claims of an apocalyptic fallout post-Brexit, over 3,500 have joined Facebook group '48% Preppers' to "discuss the practical preparations people are making for life after Brexit."

    ​"[The group] is aimed at those staying in the UK, not those lucky people who are able to escape abroad (though you are welcome to contribute your tips and advice for us residents of Gulag UK). We make the assumption Brexit will be bad, possibly even disastrous for the UK, and might involve things such as: food shortages, raging inflation, collapsing pension values, seizure of property, increased crime, mass unemployment, collapse in house prices, shortage of medicine etc." the group's profile states.

    A number of threads on popular online forum Mumsnet have also garnered thousands of replies, with users stating their intention to stock up on a vast number of items in preparation for the March 29 departure date.

    ​A government spokesperson told the BBC citizens "didn't need to stockpile food, water filters or fire starters."

    "The UK has a strong level of food security built upon a diverse range of sources including strong domestic production and imports from third countries. This will continue to be the case whether we leave the EU with or without a deal," they added.

    Rational Rationing?

    Despite such calls for calm, suggestions Britain could face severe food shortages — and resultant social unrest — have been recurrent since the June 2016 referendum on the country's EU membership.

    For instance, in October 2018 ferry giant Stena said a no-deal Brexit could affect food supplies, and mere months earlier Whitehall confirmed ministers were drawing up plans to stockpile vital resources in case of a no-deal Brexit. For instance, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab stated preparations were being made to stockpile food, to ensure an "adequate food supply" in the country in case negotiations fail.

    Leaked National Police Co-ordination Center documents have also revealed authorities are preparing contingency plans, which mention the "real possibility" of calling on military assistance and preventing officers taking leave around March 2019, when the UK is set to withdraw.

    The document also warned of traffic queues at ports, and "unprecedented and overwhelming" disruption to the road network, a sizeable rise in theft, EU police officers losing their legal right to carry a warrant card — which would potentially affect 750 officers in the Metropolitan Police alone — increased data costs hitting the budgets of forces which rely on mobile communication, and civil disruption potentially lasting for three months either side of the March 29 exit date.

    Related:

    No-Deal Brexit May Disrupt Food, Air Transport Sectors in Short Term - Report
    Brexit: May Takes Over Talks, Raab Insists 'No Deal' Won't Disrupt Food Supplies
    EU May Hit Back if UK Drops Food Safety Checks in No-Deal Brexit – Report
    Brexit Britain: UK Gov't Stockpiling Food Supplies at Ports in Case of 'No Deal'
    Tags:
    food, no-deal Brexit, Brexit negotiations, Brexit 'deal or no deal', water rationing, Brexit, United Kingdom
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