The Government is implementing its plans for a no-deal Brexit in full with MPs expected to vote down Theresa May’s withdrawal deal in January.
This includes writing to 140,000 companies advising them on what steps to take and putting 3,500 troops on alert for the immediate aftermath of a hard Brexit.
Ministers emerged from a cabinet meeting today and announced that £2 billion had been approved for a range of measures, saying it was ‘right and proper’ to do so.
The public will be urged to study advice published by the government this summer which covers activities such as booking flights and using credit cards.
More details about how a hard Brexit could impact on people and businesses will be published in the next few weeks, the government said.
The majority of MPs oppose Mrs May’s EU withdrawal deal and with defeat assured she was forced to cancel a vote on it last week.
She will bring it back to the Commons for a vote in the week commencing January 14 but if it is rejected again, the chances of the UK leaving without a deal increase.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said today that the Government’s focus remained on securing a deal that guaranteed a disruption-free exit from the EU.
But he added that the cabinet had decided to make no-deal planning an ‘operational priority’ with 101 days left until the UK’s departure date on March 29 next year.
The Treasury set aside £3 billion for no-deal planning in 2017 and the £2 billion announced today will go to borders, security and international trade.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC’s Newsnight on Monday that no deal planning was already well underway across the National Health Service.
He added plans were well advanced to stockpile six weeks of medicines in the event of no deal and that he had become the ‘world’s largest buyer of fridges.’
After the announcement, the government was accused of reigniting ‘project fear’ in an attempt to get Mrs May’s deal through the crucial Commons vote in January.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said it was conducting ‘psychological warfare’ and Labour said no deal was ‘not viable’ as a Brexit option.
Sir Vince said: “Theresa May is irresponsibly trying to run down the clock so that the only option is to support her discredited deal.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said a no confidence motion in Mrs May over her handling of Brexit will now be tabled in the new year.
The European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said ministers were ‘glorifying’ the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal.
He claimed it was a tactic employed by the government in a bid to strike individual deals in sectors such as transport and movement of livestock, a so-called ‘managed no deal’.
Mr Verhofstadt said on Twitter: “There is no such thing as a managed no deal.’