Nobody seems to really want it, but everyone argues the U.K. needs to be ready for it: A no-deal Brexit — the possibility that the U.K.'s departure from the European Union on March 29 is abrupt.
Stephen Barclay, the U.K.'s Brexit secretary, said earlier this month: "A responsible government needs to ensure that we are ready for that default option." A no-deal Brexit would mean that the UK would leave the EU without a transition period and without any big agreement over their future relationship. But pay no huge sums of money and wouldn't be tied to the EU for an indefinite amount of time.
During an interview to Sky News, he added that the government is "increasing communications" with pharmaceutical companies and European citizens living in the U.K.
But what else is the U.K. government doing? And is it enough?
- "We have contracts in place for 5,000 (fridges) - and these are big, industrial refrigeration units," Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC this month. He added that the government spent "just over £10 million" with these items.
- Hancock has also charted aeroplane space to ensure that vital medical supplies will be flown into the U.K. from the Netherlands in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
- The government began an information campaign this year on radios, social media and billboards, telling citizens and businesses how to access documents on what to do in the event of a no-deal.
- There are 3,500 armed forces staff standing ready to support the government with its contingency plans. No ministry has made a request for armed forces but, if needed, 3,500 are prepared for that.
- The government has allocated about £4.2 billion since 2016 to prepare for Brexit.