Ministers are planning a hardship fund for Britons hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit with cash handouts for those left out of work, leaked document reveals

Ministers are planning a ‘hardship fund’ for Britons hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit, it was claimed last night.

Officials will amass cash reserves to help workers who have lost their jobs, with claimants applying in their local job centre to tide them over.

A leaked document said ministers had sized up 22 such policies to help ease the pain of a chaotic withdrawal from the European Union.

The Cabinet was considering a ‘tax and benefits policy’ to redress cost-of-living increases. It also discussed protecting regions ‘geographically vulnerable’ to food shortages.

Officials will also have to seek alternative food sources for schools, prisons and hospitals, The Times reported.

The plans were sketched out this month at a meeting of the EU exit and trade (preparedness) committee. 

The group is chaired by Theresa May and attended by most cabinet ministers.

One of the ‘actions arising’ shared after the meeting described how ‘officials and ministers’ will ‘work on the detail of a possible hardship fund’.

The Bank of England warned in November 2018 that a no-deal Brexit would see unemployment rise to 7.5per cent – up from 4per cent in July.

This could lead to an extra £12billion on the Government’s unemployment benefit bill over three years, according to The Times.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The plans were sketched out this month at a meeting of the EU exit and trade (preparedness) committee, chaired by Theresa May 

Another idea from the committee was for both the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions to help soften the no-deal Brexit blow.

They were told to ‘mitigate consumer impacts of increases in cost of living through tax and benefits policy’.

The document read: ‘This work should focus on consumer groups who would be particularly vulnerable to price increases.’ 

The impact of food shortages was also discussed in the meeting alongside talk of rises in food prices.

It decided the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government would ‘report on potential impacts, including any communities known to be geographically vulnerable to disruptions to food supplies.’ 

It also urged ‘all departments’ to ‘support devolved administrations in considering any areas of potential geographical vulnerability to food supply issues’.

Meanwhile, the departments of education, health and justice were told to ‘plan for the impacts of food supply disruptions to the public sector’.

Ministers should focus on ‘handling potential for increased costs in conjunction with Her Majesty’s Treasury [and] enabling a flexible approach by suppliers, working with suppliers on menu flexibility including food substitutions working with Public Health England’.

Downing Street said they did not comment on leaks.


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