Whilst there remains political deadlock over Brexit and the UK is currently on course to leave the EU without a deal, there are a number of resources available to help your business prepare – even whilst the outcome remains unclear.
What is the current situation with Brexit?
The UK was scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. However, failure to pass Theresa May’s withdrawal deal through Parliament has led to the EU granting a brief extension:
If Parliament fails to ratify the deal, the UK will leave the EU on 12 April 2019.
If Parliament does ratify the deal before 12 April, the deadline for the UK leaving the EU will extend to 22 May 2019.
According to the government:
“Leaving the EU means your business may need to prepare for change.
“Delivering a deal negotiated with the EU remains the government’s top priority. With an implementation period until December 2020, this would give businesses stability, certainty and time to prepare for our new relationship after EU Exit.
“However, the government must plan for every possible outcome, including no deal. Without a deal, businesses may need to take action before 29 March 2019.”
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has also published online Brexit guidance that it claims can “help you make the right plans for your business”. The guide explains what the FSB believes will happen in the event of a “no deal scenario” and includes a business continuity/contingency planning chapter, which “sets out what a good contingency plan should cover”.
The FSB says it “wants to see a good pro-business deal reached with the EU” because this is “in the best interests of smaller businesses in the UK and the EU”. However, with 29 March fast approaching, it has “a responsibility to help our smaller businesses”. It describes a no deal/no transition period outcome as the “most disruptive scenario for business continuity in the short term”.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) describes the UK leaving the EU as “one of the biggest economic changes in a generation” and is “focused on the practicalities of Brexit for business communities across the UK”. The BCC believes that it is “crucial that businesses are doing all they can to prepare for the future”, so it has “compiled resources to help firms plan for change” and has created a Brexit Hub.
The Forum of Private Business provides its members with a free helpline, through which it will help with Brexit queries. Your bank or trade association (find yours via the Trade Association Forum website) may also have published advice on how to prepare for Brexit. Local councils and business support organisations have also been providing advice to small businesses on preparing Brexit. All organisations are urging small businesses to act now to mitigate risk and try to minimise disruption, whichever way the UK ends up leaving the EU.