Dorset prepares for food and fuel shortages ahead of Brexit

Dorset prepares for food and fuel shortages ahead of Brexit

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 7:03am 10th September 2019. (Updated at 7:36am 11th September 2019)

The problems have been ranked as ‘medium’ in a report to Dorset Council as it prepares for the worst.

According to a report being presented to Dorset Council exit from the EU, with or without a deal, could result in shortages of food and fuel in Dorset and carers not being able to travel, leaving vulnerable people at risk.

A report to councillors next week also lists a medium risk of public disorder in the event of ‘no deal’ exit, along with a rise in hate crime.

Read the full report.

Also in the same medium risk category is an increase in the number of safeguarding referrals to social services either from people being exploited if there are shortages, or from a reduction in their care and support from neighbours, family and friends.

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A return of ex-pats to the area with care needs is also listed as a medium risk, putting additional pressure on local services; along with difficulties in recruiting or retaining EU workers within adult social care.

The council also acknowledges known national risks – shortage of medicine and some food supplies, the potential for increased school closures and the disruption in supplies for business and the construction industry.

Dorset Council also says there is a risk to waste disposal as some the county’s residual waste is exported – which might have a knock-on impact on storing rubbish within the county with an additional risk of not being able to get enough fuel for waste collection vehicles.

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The report, to an Audit and Governance Committee, on Tuesday 17th, says that all of the problems could be exacerbated should they coincide with problems caused by bad weather or a widespread outbreak of flu or the winter vomiting bug.

The council’s own general risk planning has been delayed by what it describes as “staffing gaps within the corporate risk function,” but adds:

“Although the full risk profiling has been delayed, capacity has been focussed on ensuring that risks associated with the potential of a no-deal EU Exit have been identified and managed.”

In a separate report the council gives a high risk rating for its ability to recruit, develop and retain the required workforce to deliver the council’s work.  Also rated high risk is the council’s financial position and the danger posed to its systems by a cyber attack.

A team of council officers has been meeting weekly to prepare for Brexit  focusing on the protection of vulnerable people. In a statement last week the authority said that it may need to increase the frequency of the meetings as any deadline approached.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter