Only 3 in 10 UK exporters ready for no-deal Brexit

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

British businesses may not have everything they need for Brexit, new figures warn.

Fewer than three in ten businesses that export from the UK would have the necessary paperwork in place to continue trading if Britain left the European Union without a deal.

This is according to figures obtained from the Treasury by the Liberal Democrats, which showed only 27 per cent of those that trade solely with the EU have already obtained an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number from HM Revenue & Customs.

Firms that import and export outside the EU will already have an EORI number, but the 245,000 who trade internationally only within the EU would also need one to track shipments and collect duties should a no-deal occur.

If they failed to obtain one, these companies could find their opportunities for trade closed off after October 31st 2019.

Since December 2018, 66,000 businesses have applied for an EORI number - but at this rate, it would take until 2021 for all those required to do so to have applied.

"An overwhelming majority of UK exporters to the EU are unprepared for a no-deal Brexit and will not be in a position to deal with the mountain of red tape and bureaucracy it will burden them with," warned Liberal Democrats Treasury spokesperson Chuka Umunna.

HMRC insisted it is doing everything it can to ensure the UK is ready to leave the EU and urged businesses to apply online for an EORI number as soon as possible if they need one.