West Lothian Council has published its contingency plans for Brexit, and they make for grim reading.
The plans assume disruption to food supplies in the short term. In the longer term, there is a prediction of job losses, shortage of supplies for manufacturing, a cut in foreign investment and migration loss.
Early predictions suggested that school and care home menus would have to be changed because of interrupted supplies of fresh food.
The contingency plans outline the optimising of food stocks, the conserving of existing supply and co-ordinated work with other authorities to mitigate disruption to meal services.
The contingency plan does not envisage fuel shortages or major disruption to the fuel supply chains.
Depending on the nature of the terms to be agreed with the EU, it is possible that prices may increase due to EU exit-related import tariffs. At contract level there is no immediate risk to supply, but commodity costs may rise.
In terms of medical supplies, the plan outlines the work that has been done in Scotland and the UK NHS in terms of stockpiling medicine and securing supply. The Scottish Government has established a Scottish Medicines Shortage Response Group which will review evidence and intelligence, recommend action, and instigate escalation to the UK Medicines Shortage Group.
Under the theme of finance, the plan states: “Inflation will see costs rise across the board. Increased utility bills, food bills and cost of transport will negatively impact upon those who are already vulnerable due to income or, employment deprivation.”
Under the heading of resilience, the plan notes: “There may also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions”.
It tempers this with Scottish Government thinking: “Historically, these protests have taken place in areas with large populations and established transport routes; Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen are assessed as being the most likely seats of any significant demonstration/protest activity.”
However there is a cautionary note: “Concurrent risks associated with autumn and winter such as severe weather, flooding and seasonal flu could exacerbate a number of impacts and stretch resources of partners and responders.”