Britons have already spent £4bn ($4.81bn) stockpiling goods in case of a no-deal Brexit, according to new research from finance provider Premium Credit.
The survey found that 800,000 people had already spent more than £1,000 preparing for potential food shortages, with one in five having spent an extra £380 ahead of the 31 October deadline.
If the UK does leave the EU without a deal in the Autumn, which is seen as increasingly likely by many inside Westminster, there is the potential threat of issues to commercial food supply. Since Boris Johnson has become Prime Minister, preparations in advance for no deal have been stepped up.
Research conducted in advance of the March Article 50 deadline found that 17% of the population had spent some money building up supplies, costing an estimated nationwide total of £4.6bn.
The most popular items for stockpiles have been food and medicine, with 74% of those surveyed said they had bought extra provisions, 50% bought medicines and 46% bought drinks.
Premium Credit also highlighted that many firms had faced cashflow issues, with some taking out credit to cover the cost of insurance and other fixed costs.
The level of stockpiling by British businesses and households is well documented, but there has been little focus on the impact this has had on cashflow, which has been quite negative”, said Adam Morghem of Premium Credit. “Interestingly, over the past three months we have seen an increase in clients looking to use premium finance to pay for their insurance, and we believe a key factor behind this is the impact of stockpiling on cashflows, forcing more businesses and households to spread the cost of their insurance.”
“Businesses should also check with their brokers to make sure their stockpiled goods are properly insured.”
With businesses facing increased uncertainty, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called for new Chancellor Sajid Javid to hold an emergency budget in light of the threat of no-deal.
The FSB called for Javid to cut employer National Insurance Contributions, an uprating in employment allowance and a reduction in Value Added Tax.
Commenting on the uncertainty businesses face via a no deal Brexit, Labour’s Minister for Small Businesses Bill Esterson told Yahoo Finance UK that “No-deal would cause our economy to plunge off a cliff and threaten the livelihoods of millions of small business owners and staff.”
He added the priority must be “to stop the disaster of no-deal.”