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May refuses to guarantee medicine supply if no-deal Brexit

It comes as the UK Government issued a tender to assist in stockpiling medicines.

The Prime Minister has refused to guarantee the supply of medicines in the event of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Theresa May was pressed on the issue after reports her health department has launched a public tender "worth tens of millions of pounds" to source warehouse facilities to stockpile medicines.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford said it showed the UK Government was in a "blind panic" about Brexit.

May responded that if the SNP MP had been "paying attention", he would have known that Chancellor Philip Hammond set aside money for no-deal planning last year.

She added that the tender was an example of "responsible contingency decisions that any government department would make".

Hammond allocated £3bn to contingency planning for Brexit in last November's Budget, and announced a further £500m in Monday's Budget.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1432333-budget-austerity-coming-to-an-end-says-chancellor/ | default

The UK Government has published a number of technical notices for British businesses on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

It is also planning to stockpile an extra six weeks' worth of medicines in case of disruption to supplies, and is looking for additional storage or non-medical facilities that can be converted into storage.

Blackford insisted May's government had to "wake up to the real harm her Brexit policies could cause to patients" and said the money for the tender should have been spent on frontline health services.

He also asked twice if the Prime Minister could guarantee the supply of medicines to the NHS in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but May refused to be drawn.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1432107-stockpiling-ahead-of-brexit-could-boost-scotland-s-economy/ | default

Blackford continued: "Why did this government last week quietly begin a dramatically truncated tender process to try and stockpile medicines at a cost of tens of millions of pounds - funds that should be spent on frontline services?"

He added: "It is time that the Prime Minister woke up to the real harm her Brexit policies could cause to patients.

"Prime Minister, isn't it the truth that this government is in a blind panic trying to cover up a blind Brexit?"

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1432166-sturgeon-no-deal-brexit-may-be-most-likely-outcome/ | default

The Prime Minister replied: "No... First of all, if he had been listening and paying attention over the last months, he would have known that in the Budget last year, the Chancellor made clear there was money available for no-deal planning.

"We stepped up the no-deal planning in the summer.

"Departments like the Department of Health and Social Care are ensuring that they're making the responsible contingency decisions that any government department would make.

"What we're doing is working for a good deal in Brexit.

"And we're working for a good deal that will benefit the whole of the UK, including Scotland."

The UK and the EU are entering the final phase of Brexit negotiations, with a deal needing struck by January under Article 50 to avoid a no-deal scenario.

The two sides remain deadlocked over the question of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1431937-crunch-time-in-brussels/ | default

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