UK govt publishes Brexit readiness report for businesses

Brexit | 9 October 2019

The government is taking preparatory measures for a no-deal Brexit.


As the likelihood of Britain leaving the European Union with a deal appears to be declining by the day, the UK government has published a Brexit readiness report to help businesses ensure they know what they need to do after October 31st 2019.

Issued by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and MP Michael Gove, it insists funding, extra resources and practical support will be available to ensure the continuing smooth movement of goods in and out of the EU.

Among other things, it points out that businesses and hauliers will require an Economic Operator Registration Indicator (EORI) number if they are VAT-registered and trade with Europe, which should already have been issued.

The document also lists the measures that have been taken by the government to keep Britain trading, including postponed VAT accounting for both EU and non-EU imports so companies do not have to declare and recover import VAT on goods immediately, and a Temporary Tariff Regime (TTR) for all imports.

There will be a significant increase in the number of customs agents at the borders and a new import/export helpline to answer businesses' questions.

In addition, HMRC is sending further guidance to 220,000 British companies to advise them of the extra steps they may need to take to import and export without hindrance.

"We would prefer to leave with a deal, and continue to work in an energetic and determined way to achieve one, but we must be prepared for all eventualities. This report sets out what will change if we leave without a deal and explains what the government is doing to get ready," Mr Gove said.

Talks surrounding Brexit appear to be turning ever-more fraught, with hopes of a breakthrough dealt a blow this week after Ireland's finance minister said he would be against any customs checks in Ireland.

Meanwhile, in a dramatic statement from Brussels, president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker claimed a no-deal Brexit would lead to the "collapse of the United Kingdom and a clear weakening of the roots of growth on the continent".

A special parliamentary session will be held on Saturday 19th October 2019, marking one of only five occasions MPs have gathered at the weekend in House of Commons history.