Preparing for a no-deal Brexit

Whatever your opinion on the “leave/remain” debate there is now sufficient momentum in our new government to engineer the UK’s exit from the EU 31 October 2019, come what may.

As the EU seems reluctant to consider any change to its draft withdrawal agreement, the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit is becoming a real possibility.

But I don’t have customers or suppliers in the EU, so I don’t need to worry

Many of us do not have direct dealings with businesses in the EU. However, you will not have to drill down too far into your customer and suppliers’ supply chains to find firms that are dependent on imports from or exports to the EU to some extent. This being so, any delays or price increases in these movements of goods will trickle down and affect our businesses.

Accordingly, we are all going to be affected…

OK, but what can we do? October is just a few weeks away

It’s been announced that the government is investing a considerable sum in no-deal Brexit advice. The information, when it becomes available, will likely be complex and self-defeating as it will take an age to unravel and apply – this is certainly the case with previous information published by HMRC on this topic.

However, there are three key steps that we should all undertake NOW. They are:

1 Supply issues:

Survey your major customers and suppliers and identify those who expect a no-deal Brexit to disrupt their supply lines.

2 Pricing issues:

Identify suppliers who expect that a no-deal Brexit will increase their costs and their price lists. Survey your customers to see if their demand for your products or services will be affected by a no-deal Brexit.

3 Planning

When you have the data from 1 and 2 above create a formal business plan and if necessary, agree additional funding requirements with your shareholders or banks.

 Additionally, you should consider:

 Applying for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

Post Brexit, and particularly, after a no-deal Brexit, without this number HMRC will be unable to clear your goods through customs, leading to delays and possible additional storage costs. You can apply online and there are no registration costs. We should all apply as the process only takes a few days. You can register even if you subsequently don’t use the number.

 Also, if your business is reliant on grants from the EU, research replacement UK grants and apply ASAP.

The farming community, not for profit organisations and educational establishments will be particularly affected. Don’t let no-funding be an outcome of no-deal.

And finally,

Check your family passports

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, new rules will apply. If you have an UK passport, you will need to have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

We can help

If you have concerns that you are going to be adversely affected by a no-deal Brexit, but you are unsure how to plan and counter these issues, please call. We can help.

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Don’t sit on the fence

These few steps are the minimum you should consider, and as we have already stressed, we are all going to be affected by a no-deal outcome.

Waiting for the 31 October to come and go in order to judge the effects on our businesses is rather like betting on a blind hand in poker, look at your cards now, assess the risks of a no-deal Brexit and plan accordingly.