Chancellor Sajid Javid has doubled the Government’s ‘no deal’ preparation funding for the current financial year to £4.2bn, including making an additional £434m available to minimise disruption to the supply of medicines if the UK leaves Europe without a deal.
The treasury announced on Wednesday July 31 that it was making an additional £2.1bn available to Government departments – £1.1bn to be given immediately and a further £1bn to be set aside “should it be needed” – to “step up vital operational preparations” ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.
This includes £434m “to help ensure continuity of vital medicines and medical products, including through freight capacity, warehousing and stockpiling,” the treasury said.
Contingency planning for the continued supply of medicines in a no deal scenario has to date involved what the Department of Health and Social Care describes as a “multi-layered approach” of stockpiling by manufacturers, "regulatory flexibility", putting in place a National Supply Disruption Response system and arranging additional warehouse space and freight capacity.
Pharmacists have been advised not to stockpile medicines for their patients, as the Government has said this “is unnecessary and could lead to unintended consequences” such as creating shortages of particular drugs.
Mr Javid said: “With 92 days until the UK leaves the European Union it’s vital that we intensify our planning to ensure we are ready… This additional £2.1bn will ensure we are ready to leave on October 31 – deal or no deal.”
Meanwhile, shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the no deal funding boost as “an appalling waste of taxpayers’ cash”.