Foodbanks could be the first to be hit by post-Brexit food shortages, leaving some of the country’s most vulnerable people without vital supplies.
Dundee City Council’s cross-party Brexit group met last week to discuss the ongoing preparations for Brexit.
Representatives from Dundee, Angus and Fife councils were updated by officers about the likely impact of a “no deal” Brexit on residents, EU citizens and the local economy.
Group chairman Will Dawson said: “When this meeting was called, we had no idea last week would become such a tumultuous one.
“We had in mind that with a new Prime Minister and cabinet that now would be a good time to reconvene and see what, if anything, had changed from our previous discussions and if our preparations were enough.
“Press reports alone would suggest that we are in even more of an uncertain period; however, what I think that we can all agree on is that no deal is the most likely scenario.
“Boris Johnson was quoted recently saying that we will leave ‘do or die’ on October 31 and in my mind, regardless of your politics, the suspension of parliament, rather than just a recess, is a clear ploy to make that happen,” added the SNP councillor.
Mr Dawson, who represents the East End ward in Dundee, added: “What is clear in my mind is that all of our councils and partners are right to prepare for a worst case scenario.
“We have now gone past just planning for a no deal into being prepared and whilst we cannot possibly be prepared for every eventuality, we are certain that if the worst happens we will be ready to deal with it.
“Before anyone mentions scaremongering, that is not the intention of these meetings or the work that all organisations have been doing. We are simply in uncharted territory.
“We do not know if there will be civil unrest, food, fuel or medicine shortages, however if we did not prepare to deal with them, then we would have failed.”
Mr Dawson said that while food supply companies, supermarkets and medicine suppliers have contingencies in place to ensure a ready supply of goods, there are still concerns that third sector organisation, such as food banks, could be the first to feel the impact of any shortages.
He said: “Officers also advised that they are regularly communicating with third sector organisations such as foodbanks as if there are issues, they may be the first to feel the effects and that all agencies such as the police and the council are ready to get any messages out to residents should there be the need.”
Mr Dawson also urged businesses and residents in Tayside and Fife to make sure they take up all offers of support available to them.
“Part of the problem is that we have has so much uncertainty for so long that perhaps some businesses did not know what to prepare for,” he said.
“Toolkits are available online as well as some pots of funding to ensure your business is ready.
“Whether you run a small business or are just concerned as a resident, I would urge people to look online at the resources that are available. Help and information is available should you need it.”