Britain is in ‘pretty good shape’ for a no deal Brexit, according to the Head of the Home Civil Service, Sir Mark Sedwill.

In early March he told the cabinet that ‘no deal’ would trigger a ten per cent spike in food prices, send businesses to the wall, damage the police’s ability to keep people safe and plunge the economy into recession.

But in the weeks leading up to March 29 and since, the Government has reached many formal and informal agreements with the EU. These agreements safeguard citizens’ rights, security arrangements, students’ rights, and measures to preserve the flow of trade, such as customs procedures at the Channel ports, landing rights for aircraft, permits for Eurostar, driving permits for hauliers, recognition of safety certificates, allowing live animals and animal products swift entry, etc.

We have also reached trade agreements covering most of our exports to countries with which the EU has trade agreements. We have become a member of the Common Transit Convention, so hauliers only need to make customs declarations and pay import duties when they reach their final destination.

Sir Mark has recognised these new facts, so he could truthfully tell the Institute of Government on June 13: “I think we’re in pretty good shape for it. We did one of the most impressive pieces of cross-government work I’ve experienced in my career to make No Deal preparations in the run-up to the [original] March-April deadline.”

So, fears of ‘crashing out’ and of ‘cliff-edges’ are out of date. Forecasts of economic doom are not realistic.

Will Podmore

Clavering Road, Wanstead