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10.12.18

‘Bodies may be uncollected’: No-deal Brexit chaos could see council staff work from home for months

Bodies will remain uncollected and council staff may be forced to work from home for six months due to gridlocked roads in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Kent County Council has warned.

In a damning report, Kent CC said that refuse would fill the streets, food deliveries could be disrupted, and children could miss exams if the county is forced to face a 10,000-lorry gridlock on its roads as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

After publishing its stark no-deal Brexit contingency plans, the council warned that a no-deal gridlock in Dover would cost the county millions and spread chaos around the country at a cost of almost £1.75bn a week to the UK economy.

Kent’s leader Paul Carter stressed that he wanted to avoid a repeat of the Operation Stack in 2015, which saw disruption to cross-Channel traffic lead to around 7,000 HGVs stuck on the M20.

He called for the government to act quickly to help the council prepare the region and country for the worst-case scenario after he revealed Westminster had still not released sufficient detail of its own no-deal planning.

The 17-page report from Kent CC predicts that a no-deal Brexit would see morgues unable to function properly, weddings cancelled, and hospitals could hit by further staff shortages.

The coroner service “could face difficulties with the transport of the deceased to post-mortem or body storage facilities... and travel by pathologists to mortuary to conduct post mortems.”

The council said there would be major staff shortages in areas such as social care and hospitals, and major disruption to the supply of medicines and people’s ability to get to hospital.

Kent CC is preparing for possible delays to the transport network by expanding its capability to allow for a “significant shift to remote working, either with staff working from home or from alterative locations.”

Carter said: “I sincerely hope that we never have to implement any of our contingency plans and that the UK has a smooth exit from Europe. However, we don’t know whether or not that will be the case.

“Some people say this is a waste of money, but we must never forget the chaos that we had across half of this county in 2015. It lasted 10 days. Doctors couldn’t get to hospitals, nurses could get to work, weddings were cancelled, domiciliary care workers struggled to get to their clients.”

The Kent CC leader warned MPs to think “long and hard” as they prepare to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Image credit - Nikada

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