The UK’s exit date from the EU is fast approaching, and Parliament is yet to agree on any legal framework that will protect us from crashing out of the EU without a deal.
We are running out of time and the only thing that we know for certain is that we are set to leave on 29 March with or without a deal.
Just two weeks ago, the parliament voted down the Cooper amendment aimed at ruling out ‘no-deal’ and voted for the Government to seek alternative arrangements with the EU.
How can these “alternative arrangements” be negotiated, a framework put in place that everyone agrees on, and a no-deal Brexit avoided, with only 44 days until 29 March?
Without some kind of a Brexit deal, NHS chiefs have warned they could quickly run out of vital medicines and may have to delay operations for people in need. Supermarkets have spoken out about their concerns for our fresh food supply. Politicians on both sides of the channel have said this would mean a hard border in Ireland. People have started stockpiling because there is so much uncertainty.
Everyone agrees that a no deal would be a disaster. For the NHS, there could be delays in importing medicines due to new border arrangements that could lead to stockpiling; the infrastructure could falter under severely decreased recruitment of healthcare staff from the EU; and without the EHIC card - UK nationals across Europe could be denied access to healthcare.
For our food, new checks at the British border will delay transit of goods and complicate the ability to keep goods fresh - forces restaurants and supermarkets to stockpile food. And the increased import tariffs will hike up prices for consumers.
But most importantly, a no deal Brexit would be a disaster for young people. Young people will lose as much as £108,000 in earnings by 2050 if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. The short-term hit from a no-deal departure would be significant, studies say, costing 18 to 21-year-olds £675 a year and 22 to 29-year-olds £830 a year.
The loss of freedom of movement for young people who have never known a life with borders would be hugely detrimental – with recent research revealing that 78 percent of 18 to 20-year-olds saying they will miss the right to live and work across the continent. Not to mention the threat to EU youth education, training and employment initiatives – including the Erasmus+ scheme, allowing students to live and work abroad.
I run My Life My Say, a youth-led group made up of both Remainers and Leavers who have been fighting to make sure that young people aren’t forgotten when it comes to Brexit. I usually wouldn’t speak up like this but I’m terrified about what no deal could mean for young people like me. That’s why more than 77,000 people have signed my petition calling on parliament to legislate against a no-deal Brexit scenario.
By the Government’s own impact assessments, leaving without a deal would be disastrous for the future of this country and our everyday lives.
If politicians allow this to happen, they are betraying future generations. Not just their opportunities, their futures, their freedoms - but their trust too.
Mete Coban is chief executive of My Life My Say, a youth-led, non-partisan charity