Where to look for help before Brexit

Brexit Insights
David Wood.jpg By David Wood, Senior Policy Director, ICAS

7 February 2019

Today (7 February) the UK is 50 days away from leaving the European Union. Four scenarios are possible.

1. No-deal Brexit

If politicians fail to secure or approve a withdrawal deal between the UK and EU, then the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, with no transitional provisions in place.

2. Transition period

If a UK-EU deal is secured and approved, then the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. There will be a transition (or ‘implementation’) period to 31 December 2020, when there will be little change of substance but discussions can then start on the future UK-EU relationship and trade agreement.

During this transition period, current trading arrangements will continue and the UK will continue to follow EU rules and be subject to the EU’s courts but without any influence at EU level.

3. Defer withdrawal

A possible UK request to defer the Article 50 deadline beyond 29 March 2019, for which the unanimous agreement of the EU 27 Member States will be needed.

4. No Brexit

Legally, the UK could also rescind its Article 50 notification, but there are conditions over this, and it would seem unlikely that the UK could get into a position to be able to do this prior to 29 March 2019.

Consequences of no-deal Brexit

A no-deal outcome is likely to be the worst-case scenario for most businesses. Business who have not yet considered the consequences of this should do so now as a matter of urgency.

In recent months, the Government has shifted focus toward ensuring preparations are made for a no-deal Brexit, and staff have been reallocated accordingly.

The UK Government has issued guidance to help individuals, businesses, EU nationals within the UK and UK nationals living in the EU. This is a user-friendly way of approaching your Brexit planning and for businesses, this takes you to a step-by-step guide.

A more direct way of finding the relevant guidance is to click through to the Government’s ‘Find EU Exit guidance for your business’. There are 155 guidance publications, increasing in number and being updated all the time, which are searchable according to the criteria which you input.

For example, if you are a business in the food and drink sector (under ‘Sector / Business Area’), which buys products or goods from abroad, sells products or goods abroad, and transports goods abroad (under ‘Business activity’), this will narrow the relevant publications to a list of 31 (at the time of writing this article).


  • Political landscape
  • Brexit

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