Hunt pledges £6bn war chest to cope with no-deal Brexit

Jeremy Hunt has pledged to create a £6 billion war chest to handle a no-deal Brexit.

Food producers should be treated like the financial services industry during the 2008 financial crash, the Tory leadership candidate is expected to tell supporters.

Mr Hunt will set out a 10-point plan, including a Cobra-style committee to “turbocharge” Whitehall preparations and keep Britain open for business in the event of World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs coming into effect.

“You cannot leave the European Union on a wing and a prayer,” he is expected to say. “Britain deserves better.”

The Foreign Secretary will set up a temporary No Deal Relief Programme, including the war chest for farmers and fishermen exporting to Europe, to ease transition out of the European Union and honour international obligations.

He will say: “If you’re a sheep farmer in Shropshire or a fisherman in Peterhead I have a simple message for you – I know you face uncertainty if we have to leave the EU without a deal.

“I will mitigate the impact of no-deal Brexit on you and step in to help smooth those short-term difficulties.

“If we could do it for the bankers in the financial crisis, we can do it for our fishermen, farmers and small businesses now.”

Mr Hunt will tell MPs he plans to immediately ramp up no-deal preparations and identify actions the Government could take to mitigate the impact of no deal in the short term.

Plans to keep goods flowing in and out of the UK, including emergency powers so ports and airports can coordinate nationally, will be led by a new National Logistics Committee led by the Department for Transport.

A No Deal Brexit Budget should be prepared, including a corporation tax cut to 12.5%, increasing the annual allowance to £5 million and taking 90% of high street businesses out of rates.

Mr Hunt is expected to say: “Britain deserves a leader who works tirelessly to get a deal but who is prepared to put the hard yards in preparing for no deal.”

He stressed he would prefer the UK to leave the EU with a “new deal” that removes the Irish backstop and ensures a fully independent trade policy, which he said is possible “if the Commission engages in good faith”.

Mr Hunt will add: “Britain deserves a leader with the courage to not just tell the European Commission he will walk away, but to show them he is willing and able to do so.

“Because in the end, without those abilities, without that determination, and without that plan, it is just a wing and a prayer.”

Similar support packages have recently been carried out by President Donald Trump who provided a 16bn dollar package for farmers affected by Chinese tariffs.

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