COUNCIL leader Shona Haslam says she is “confident” that fresh food supplies to schools and care homes will not be affected by the end of the UK’s transition period out of the European Union.

The transition period, which ensured Britain followed the EU’s single market rules to minimise the impact on trade, is set to end on December 31, 2020, with no deal currently agreed once the UK is out of the union.

At a full council meeting on November 5, members of the opposition raised a number of concerns about the impact of Brexit on the Borders.

Before the meeting, Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell stated that “it really is time for this Tory administration to give us some straight answers”.

During the open questions section of the meeting, Tweeddale West councillor Heather Anderson asked Mrs Haslam what steps have been taken to protect fresh food supplies to schools and care homes against the impact of a no or low deal Brexit on January 1, 2021.

In her response, Ms Haslam said that schools have one week’s worth of dried foods and two weeks of frozen foods, while care homes have stocks to last them six weeks.

She added that she is “confident we will have fresh food supplies after December 31 [2020]”.

A letter in September from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, warned of potential 80 per cent reductions in flow rates of lorries crossing the Channel from January 1.

The letter also stated that the build-up could cause delays of a maximum of two days, with an additional warning that up to 50 per cent of lorry drivers would not be ready for new regulations set to come into force on New Year’s Day.

Ms Anderson said she was worried by the “relative lack of concern” shown by the council, demanding a more “detailed and robust plan” regarding how “we are going to keep the supply of meals in our schools and in our homes”.

Mrs Haslam responded to this by stating that she was “slightly confused” by Ms Anderson’s concerns after the reassurances over the food stocks of schools and care homes in the area.

She added that Ms Anderson should have declared an interest in the issue at the start of the meeting due to her role at Whitmuir Organic Farm, which she runs with her husband.

Ms Anderson insisted that she did not have an interest in the topic of fresh food outside of the supply to schools and care homes.

Other issues including the council’s Brexit Response Team, PPE, medication and how Brexit will impact the shellfish trade in Berwickshire were also raised at the meeting.