The concerned countdown to Brexit is on, states Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil who says we must brace ourselves for the major impacts this will have on day to day life and the economy.
People must also understand that neither Deal or No Deal is a good option and puts the UK in a worse trading position than any major European nation.
Speaking ahead of crunch meetings between UK PM Boris Johnson’s final round of talks with President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Mr MacNeil says he is pessimistic for what lies ahead.
He has had talks with many bodies across industries in his capacity as Chair of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons and none have outlined the benefits of Brexit, whether the outcome is Deal or No Deal.
He said: “I have had many conversations about Brexit over the last couple of years, they have got worse and more intensely concerning as time goes on.
“Industries are actually complaining that the UK Government is not listening to them.
“Many people will have heard the news that Honda have stopped manufacturing due to a lack of parts. This is no major surprise, manufacturing in the UK is going to be severely impacted by Brexit, especially just in time manufacturing relying on truckloads of components daily arriving at factories.
“The most pivotal news comes from the Road Haulage Association who have an overview of traffic coming in and out of the UK and I think it is worth repeating some of things they have told me.
“85% of haulage to the UK is from EU lorries, 35% of those are Polish, 16% Spanish, with Slovak and Lithuanian being the next biggest groups.
“These carriers are paid by the kilometre; they have debt on tractor units, so they need to keep moving to be earning. Clearly with border friction and talk of tailbacks of up to 70 miles with two days to be cleared – in a worst-case scenario – does not make the UK an attractive destination for them.
“The Road Haulage Association estimates that traffic between this part of Europe across the English Channel to continent of Europe will be between 65 and 85% if there is a deal and between 40 and 65% if there is no deal.
“The reality is that there is plenty of work for these lorries across Europe so to pay the debts on lorries, they don’t need to be parked up in Calais or Dover and not earning money. This is one of the likely coming harsh realities.”
“Speaking to the British Poultry Council – deal or no deal, the price of chicken is going up. It will go up 5% in the case of a deal or 25% if No Deal as they find cost inputs rising as they lose part of their Euro markets for some of the meat that would have been sold.
“81% of animal medicines come from EU, this is a concern for sheep producers. That was been brought to my attention by those in animal veterinary services. This could become problem in the New Year as well.
“Tariffs may or may not be there depending if there is Deal or No Deal, but there will certainly be border friction, due to the many non-tariff barriers. The UK will be about the only sizable country in Europe outside both the Customs Union and Single Market. Even traditional outliers of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland being in the Single Market will have more developed relationships with the EU than the UK, this is clearly going to impact trade.”
“The cost of pallets is also going up, transportation of goods which have to be heat treated for travel at certain temperatures and their cost may double per wooden pallet.”
Driving permit and insurance
“For those who wish to travel to EU they will need an international driving licence, an international driving permit which is available at Post Office’s because the UK driving licence will no longer be acceptable in the EU anymore.
“Drivers may also need a “Green Card” to show car insurance abroad is valid if they are taking their own car abroad.”
“Passports will need at least 6 months validity. It is EU law for the Schengen passport area, coming in from outside the EU, you need 6 months validity. This will be the case for deal or no deal.”
“European Health Insurance card is not valid from January 1 and travellers will need to have their own travel insurance and make sure it includes coverage for pre-existing conditions.
He added: “Essentially the easy right to free movement is gone and its evaporation is creating a lot of difficulties, a lot of form filling, a lot of costs are all going to be in the way and this is all thanks to the stupidity of Brexit hidden by the misinformation of leading Brexiteers.
“I did note also in the news in the last few days, one of the leading Brexiteer voices, Jim Radcliffe, Chief Executive of INEOS, who is developing an off road vehicle, unbelievably he has chosen to construct it in France which is in the EU, as opposed to constructing in the UK.
“It just about sums up the crazy situation the UK finds itself in now.
“The best advice would be to abandon Brexit at this stage but unfortunately that doesn’t look to be happening.
“Now more than ever it makes sense for Scotland to be a normal independent nation, we in Scotland voted against this crazy choice but the expected worst impacted area in all of the UK and Europe from Brexit will be the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
“In short, food prices are going up, haulage is more difficult and general everyday hassles will be increasing.”