Cabinet ministers are drafting a multibillion-pound bailout to support industries most affected by a no-deal Brexit, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
The proposals, compiled by Whitehall departments, include resilience deals for sheep farmers, fishermen, car makers and chemical suppliers who face trade disruptions or punitive EU tariffs after January 1st.
Two sources involved in shaping the plans say the package is expected to involve between £ 8bn and £ 10bn in funding and builds on Operation Kingfisher, a support program originally developed last year before a breakthrough on the Brexit Divorce Agreement.
At least four areas of the economy have reportedly been identified by ministers as “the hardest hit sectors”. They are agricultural and food producers, chemical suppliers, the automotive industry and fishing.
George Eustice, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Cabinet Minister Alister Jack, Scotland Secretary Simon Hart, Welsh Secretary and Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland Secretary, would work on the plans.
The disclosure comes as Downing Street accelerates no-deal planning by launching an inter-Whitehall exercise, Operation Capstone, on Wednesday, which will also involve the three decentralized administrations.
A high-level government source said she would test a range of scenarios for no deal, including border disruption, jamming of warships to intercept EU trawlers illegally fishing in UK waters and issues transfer of data between the UK and the bloc – “basically anything that could go wrong in January,” the source said.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, talks between Lord Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator and his counterpart Michel Barnier, appeared to have stalled just hours before the two sides decided to continue negotiations or embark on negotiations. preparations without agreement.
A government source said talks would continue, but warned that “as it stands, the offer on the EU table remains unacceptable.”
“The Prime Minister will not leave any stone unturned in this process, but it is absolutely clear: any deal must be fair and respect the fundamental position that the UK will be a sovereign nation in three weeks,” they added. A Cabinet source said: “We pushed the deadlines ad nauseam, but it looks like there will be a result on Sunday.”
Mr Johnson is expected to speak to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and if he opts for no deal, No 10 is preparing to brief the nation via a conference press release or a statement recorded in the early afternoon.
Senior ministers were also asked to clear their agendas, with a number returning to London ahead of a Cabinet meeting to discuss next steps. Ahead of the crucial 24-hour period, senior government sources revealed that meetings are now being held almost daily to discuss a set of planned support for industries most susceptible to disruption without a deal.
A Cabinet source said, “We’ve been working on it for a few weeks now,” while another added: “Ministers are pushing where we need to put in mitigation. ”
Under the plans of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, funds will be released to cover the losses of up to 3,500 sheep farmers who earn less than £ 10,000 per year if they were undergoing a “serious market disruption” next year.