The Welsh Government must ‘urgently’ devise a plan for a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, according to a committee report.
The External Affairs Committee heard the Welsh Government had examined a number of scenarios of how Brexit could affect Wales, but had not devised a response to the possibility of there being ‘no deal’ between the UK and the EU.
The committee is calling on the Welsh Government to urgently examine the likely parameters of various Brexit scenarios, including a ‘no deal scenario’.
David Rees AM, chairman of the external affairs and additional legislation committee, said: ‘We are clear, that whilst we agree with the Welsh Government that a “no deal scenario” is undesirable, more needs to be done in terms of scenario planning, including for such a “no deal” outcome.
‘We were surprised to learn that no plans were being put in place in the event of a “no deal scenario”.’
‘We accept the Welsh Government is working to influence its counterparts in the UK Government to strike a deal with the EU but do not accept there is no planning that can be done if we were to leave without one.’
The committee has made seven recommendations in its report, as well as urgently planning for ‘no deal’ with the EU.
It also found that many public sectors would welcome clear guidance and leadership from the Welsh Government on preparations for Brexit.
AMs were told that the health, higher education, agriculture and business sectors – including advanced manufacturing – could feel more of an impact than others.
Mr Rees said: ‘Sectors and organisations are looking to the Welsh Government for leadership and it is imperative that they are able to start making their own plans for life outside the EU.
‘We are calling on the Welsh Government to give a stronger steer to these sectors to ensure we are all set on the same path when we leave at the end of the negotiations.’
The committee is calling on the Welsh Government to examine the outcome’s effect on Wales and publish reports within six months.
A Government Brexit analysis last week found that Britain will be worse off regardless of any deal it reaches with Brussels.
Even if the UK is able to negotiate a free trade agreement – as Theresa May hopes – it is estimated that growth would be down five percent over the next 15 years.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: ‘We welcome the report, which is particularly timely following the publication of our Brexit trade paper that fulfils many of the committee’s recommendations.
‘We look forward to engaging further with the committee and will respond fully to the report in due course.
‘We have always said that a “no deal” scenario would be an appalling outcome for Wales and the UK, and our first priority is to work against that possibility.’