“Councils are being warned to prepare for three months of disruption in a no deal Brexit , a leaked briefing has revealed.
Town hall chiefs have been told to plan for “reasonable worst case scenarios” including runs on food, petrol and the banks.
They should prepare to report to central government every eight hours – and could have to cancel leave over Easter, it says.
The shock briefing, circulated to council chiefs and leaked to the Municipal Journal, is made up of minutes from a recent Local Resilience Forum meeting.
Dozens of LRFs, which bring together councils, emergency services and the NHS, are aiding Whitehall’s No Deal plan Operation Yellowhammer – which is led by the same officials who would deal with a flu pandemic.
The minutes say councils should prepare for “reasonable, worst case scenarios” but “without setting panic”.
Public bodies should base their plans on “a 12 week disruption period” lasting until the end of May 2019, they add.
And some supplies of medicine may be increased by six weeks on top of the existing four to six weeks’ stock, the minutes suggest.
Local ‘Tactical Co-ordinating Groups’ would have to update Whitehall at “8 hourly intervals” and “a decision on leave arrangements may be needed” over Easter, the minutes add.
The UK is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019 and Easter is on 21 April.
A local government source said: “Councils are doing what they can with the limited information they are being given. We’re feeling really nervous and really impatient.”
Shadow Local Government Secretary Andrew Gwynne claimed the instructions were “too little too late”.
He added: “It’s frankly shocking that the local government sector has been starved of resilience support that they now so desperately need.”
A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, added: “We are working with Government and engaging with the expertise of local government to ensure we get these crucial negotiations right for local communities.”
A government spokeswoman said: “We remain confident that we will secure an agreement with the EU that works for the whole of the UK.
“Rightly, we are working with Local Resilience Forums across the country to ensure they are fully prepared.
“While it is the duty of responsible planners to consider the worst case scenarios, this is not a prediction of what is going to happen.”