Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Government to send out notices to ensure 'economy functions' in event of no-deal Brexit

By Dan O'Donoghue

A series of technical notices will ensure the "smooth, continued, functioning" of the UK economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Dominic Raab is expected to say today.

In a speech outlining the Government's planning for a possible no-deal the Brexit Secretary will say the Government would take "unilateral action" to maintain continuity if negotiations break down.

Mr Raab is expected to say the UK, in the event of a no-deal, would "continue to behave as responsible European neighbours".

His speech will coincide with the publication of the first batch in a series of technical notices advising businesses and the public on what they need to do to prepare for a no-deal scenario.

He is due to say: "I remain confident a good deal is within our sights, and that remains our top, and overriding, priority. If the EU responds with the level of ambition and pragmatism, we will strike a strong deal that benefits both sides.

"But, we must be ready to consider the alternative. We have a duty, as a responsible government, to plan for every eventuality.

"These technical notices - and the ones that will follow - are a sensible, measured,and proportionate approach to minimising the impact of no deal on British firms, citizens, charities and public bodies."

He will add: "They will provide information and guidance. Our overarching aim is to facilitate the smooth, continued, functioning of business, transport, infrastructure, research, aid programmes and funding streams.

"In some cases, it means taking unilateral action to maintain as much continuity as possible in the short term, in the event of no deal - irrespective of whether the EU reciprocates."

Mr Raab in his speech will say the UK, in the event of a no-deal, would "diverge when we are ready, on our terms" from the European Union.

The Brexit Secretary will explain there is already planning talks between the Bank of England and the European Central Bank for a no-deal scenario and called for talks to begin on data protection and between port authorities.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer dismissed the documents as a distraction, saying a no-deal would be "catastrophic".

He said: "A no-deal Brexit would be a complete failure by the Government to negotiate for Britain. These documents should not distract us from that.

"No deal would be catastrophic for people's jobs, the economy and for the border in Northern Ireland. It is irresponsible for anyone to casualise no-deal."

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake called on ministers to give the public a final say on the deal, he said: "The choice between a catastrophic Brexit no-deal and the rejected Chequers plan is no choice at all.

"That's why the Liberal Democrats think the public deserves a vote on the final deal and a chance to exit from Brexit."

Under current plans, the reports will be published in batches, starting today and running through September. Reports suggest they include subjects including aviation safety, civilian nuclear power, medical drugs, the rights of British citizens living in the EU, road haulage and fishing rights.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said businesses needed clarity urgently.

"Businesses have had an extremely long wait for answers to some basic questions around Brexit and they have been particularly frustrated by the lack of clear guidance on some of the issues that are within the UK Government's own control," she said.

"As 'no deal' preparations get under way with the publishing of the EU Exit Technical Notices (TNs), the UK Government must move quickly and give businesses as much detailed information as possible to avoid significant disruption in any scenario.

"The planned notices around areas such as company law, customs and borders, EU programmes, financial services, trade agreements continuity and VAT, for example, could be extremely useful.

"However in order to be deemed a success these notices must provide our members with the clarity they need so that they can continue to make decisions and conduct business both at home and across borders on March 30, 2019."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph