Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister
Today, the Welsh Government publishes our No Deal Brexit Action Plan, which sets out the strategic risks and potential impacts associated with leaving the EU without a deal. The plan also provides an overview of measures and actions, which would help to mitigate these impacts as far as it is possible to do so.
The prospect of leaving the EU without a deal remains very real. Parliament has passed an act requiring the Prime Minister to request an extension to Article 50 until the end of January 2020, if a withdrawal deal has not been agreed by 19 October. But for this to happen, all 27 Member States must agree to an extension – until we know an extension has been requested and agreed by all members of the EU, we cannot dismiss the risk of a no deal exit at the end of October. Even achieving an extension might, only delay the risk of no deal by a few months.
On this basis, the Welsh Government must continue to prepare for a no deal exit and its consequences.
The UK government last week published its Operation Yellowhammer assumptions, after being compelled to do so by Parliament. The Welsh Government is today voluntarily publishing this action plan to help people and businesses understand the potential consequences of a no deal and the work underway to try and reduce those risks.
No amount of action by the Welsh Government – or indeed by the UK government – will ever be able to compensate for the damage a no deal Brexit will do to Wales.
We have always said that a no deal outcome would be catastrophic for Wales. It should not be considered an acceptable outcome and must be avoided. The economic impacts would be profound, but the consequences of no deal are much wider – they would ripple through society and local communities for years to come. I am particularly concerned that the most vulnerable would shoulder the burden.
The action plan outlines a high level summary of what we have done, and are doing, to mitigate the catalogue of effects of leaving without a deal. It represents a scale and breadth of work, which is unprecedented since the start of devolution. .
The actions are focused on supporting the most vulnerable in society, the citizens of Wales and our economy. We will continue to use this plan to focus our activities over the coming months, while doing all that we can to prevent no deal. Further statements to the Assembly will be made in the coming weeks to provide further details on these actions, and we will continue to work closely and intensively with our partners in Wales to do our utmost for the people, communities and businesses of Wales.