LONDON • Britain is urging businesses and individuals to prepare for the Dec 31 end of the Brexit transition period with an information campaign titled: “The UK’s new start: let’s get going.”
Britain left the European Union on Jan 31 – 31/2 years after a referendum, but a transition period has delayed any major change in the relationship. The two sides have been working to agree on a trade deal ahead of that period expiring at the end of the year.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove on Sunday said progress was being made in talks but there were still divisions. “At the end of this year we are leaving the single market and Customs union regardless of the type of agreement we reach with the EU. This will bring changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.”
The information campaign was slated to launch yesterday.
A survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) lobby group said only a quarter of firms were fully ready for the end of the transition period.
Nearly half of 978 company directors polled in late June said they were not able to prepare right now, with one in seven distracted by the coronavirus and almost a third saying they needed details of changes to be clear, the IoD said.
“With so much going on, many directors feel that preparing for Brexit proper is like trying to hit a moving target,” said IoD director-general Jonathan Geldart.
“Jumping immediately into whatever comes next would be a nightmare for many businesses.”
The campaign will direct people to a new government website giving advice on preparations.
Although Mr Gove emphasised the “opportunities” that he said would exist for UK businesses outside the EU, ministers are now preparing them for increased costs.
The website offers advice on how to hire a business with a base inside the EU to handle the new Customs bureaucracy that will be involved in moving goods across the English Channel.
Likewise, members of the public are warned that if they want to visit the EU, they will require travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions. Also, they will not be able to use pet passports, and they may face mobile phone roaming charges.