Toilet paper manufacturer voices concerns over no-deal Brexit supplies

Some toilet paper supplies might not withstand long-term border delays or panic buying in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a manufacturer has suggested.

Essity, which manufactures the Velvet and Cushelle toilet paper brands for the UK market, said it was developing “robust contingency plans” across its supply chain to cope with no deal, but warned that stocks were “not unlimited”.

The company manufactures tissue in the UK and said it had built stocks of raw materials and spare parts to ensure supply in the event of short-term border delays.

It is also holding stocks of finished products that are imported or exported between the UK and EU.

The company’s comments follow Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards using a written question in Parliament to ask ministers for details on how long stocks of toilet paper will last in a no-deal scenario.

Toilets
Portable toilets (Victoria Jones/PA)

Cabinet Office minister Simon Hart said the UK Government is working to ensure the “best possible preparation” to support the flow of goods, a response Mr Edwards labelled as “farcical” given the lack of assurances.

An Essity spokeswoman said: “As far as possible, Essity is developing robust contingency plans across the whole of our supply chain to mitigate any short-term risks following a ‘no deal’ or ‘hard’ exit of the EU.

“However, stocks are not unlimited, and some will not withstand long-term border delays outlined by the Government or in the event of consumer panic buying.”

In Parliament, Mr Edwards said in his written question: “To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how long supplies of toilet paper will last in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal?”

Mr Hart replied: “The Government would prefer to leave the EU on October 31 with a deal. If this is not possible, we will have to leave with no deal.

“In the event of no deal, the Government will prioritise the flow of goods at the border while continuing to take a risk-based approach to controls and checks on goods to minimise additional friction.”

He added: “We will continue to work to make sure we have the best possible preparation to support the flow of goods.”

Mr Edwards told the PA news agency: “This is the farcical level we have descended to – the British Government can no longer even guarantee we have the necessary supplies of toilet paper in a crash-out Brexit.

“It’s already said it’s willing to flush the economy down the toilet, but now we won’t have the paper to clean up after.

“As much as this revelation lends itself to toilet humour, it shows the serious damage a no-deal Brexit would do, even to our most basic of supplies.”

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