LONDON — Businesses could face red tape at the border, customers could see higher credit card fees, patients could endure delays to medical treatment and there could even be a sperm shortage if Britain leaves the European Union next year without a deal, the U.K. government acknowledged Thursday.

But Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government vowed it would limit the instability that could be triggered by a disorderly Brexit, releasing documents outlining its plans to cope.

Even if Britain crashes out of the bloc next year without a trade deal, its plans include unilaterally accepting some EU rules and giving EU financial services firms continued access to the U.K. market.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain was determined to “manage the risks and embrace the opportunities” of Brexit.

“We have made clear that if negotiations don’t achieve the optimum outcome, we will continue to be a responsible European neighbor and partner,” he said in a speech Thursday to business leaders in London.

With seven months until Britain leaves the EU on March 29, negotiations on divorce terms and future trade have bogged down amid infighting within May’s divided government about how close an economic relationship to seek with the EU.

The government insists it’s confident of getting a deal, but is preparing for all outcomes. On Thursday it published the first 25 of more than 70 papers covering “no-deal” planning for sectors including financial services, medicines and nuclear materials. The rest are to be released in September.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.