Ministers have drawn up plans to send in the army to deliver food, medicines and fuel in the event of shortages if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

Blueprints for the armed forces to assist the civilian authorities, usually used only in civil emergencies, have been dusted down as part of the “no deal” planning.

Helicopters and army trucks would be used to ferry supplies to vulnerable people outside the southeast who were struggling to obtain the medicines they needed.

In today’s Business section, it is revealed that supermarkets are warning their suppliers to stockpile supplies such as tea and coffee.