Implications for Business and Trade of a No Deal Exit on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020)
26 February 2019
1. The Government’s primary aim is to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March with a negotiated deal which will honour the result of the referendum. However, as a responsible government, it continues to plan for all eventualities, including one in which the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Guidance for businesses and citizens on how to prepare for a no deal scenario can be found on the Government’s Exit guidance website, www.gov.uk/EUExit.
2. Over recent months, the Government has undertaken significant action to prepare for a potential no deal scenario. Getting ready for this scenario depends not only on Government action, but also on action from a range of third parties. A no deal scenario would also have impacts on the EU and other Member States, and the steps the Commission and Member States have been taking also have a significant influence on the UK’s preparations for no deal.
3. This paper summarises Government activity to prepare for no deal as a contingency plan, and provides an assessment of the implications of a no deal exit for trade and for businesses, given the preparations that have been made. The paper explains that leaving the European Union without a deal on 29 March would have a variety of effects on business, trade and the economy, and despite government mitigation, the impact of a ‘no deal’ scenario is expected to be significant in a number of areas. While some of this is inherent to a scenario where the UK does not have any agreements with the EU, or with other countries and organisations with which the UK currently has deals through EU membership, in other cases it would be caused by the abrupt nature of the transition, and the late stage at which many parties are starting their preparations. The paper also addresses issues in relation to Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
4. The information in this note is drawn from a number of sources over a period of time. It represents a fair reflection of the current state of readiness for a no deal exit.
Government preparedness activity
5. Since the referendum in June 2016, the Government’s priority has been to secure the best possible deal for the country from the EU, and deliver that through Parliament. However, it has also been preparing for other possible outcomes, including a no deal scenario as a contingency. The Government has revised itsCabinet committee structures to include a new Cabinet sub-committee, EU Exit and Trade (Preparedness) (EUXT(P)), which has a more focussed remit hat its predecessors on overseeing and ensuring effective delivery of plans for an orderly exit from the EU. This sub-committee has, in recent weeks, been specifically focussed on overseeing preparations for a no deal scenario.
6. The Government has taken strategic policy decisions to minimise disruption and provide certainty to businesses and citizens should a no deal scenario arise. In May 2018, the Government agreed to apply a short-term ‘continuity approach’ to no deal plans, meaning that it would take unilateral action to maintain as much continuity as possible in the short term, irrespective of whether the EU reciprocated. For example, in a no deal scenario, EU hauliers would be able to use their licences in the UK to minimise disruption to businesses that rely on these hauliers to transport goods. Approximately 8 out of every 10 lorries in UK roads is an EU haulier, meaning that this unilateral action would mean that the vast majority of lorries operating in the UK would be able to continue doing so, whilst also having access to EU roads. In relation to human medicines, the Government would continue to recognise batch testing (the process of confirming every batch of medicine has the correct composition, through laboratory tests) carried out in the EU in a no deal scenario. The extent of such continuity varies by area.
7. In recent weeks, the Government has taken further decisions to increase the visibility and intensity of its no deal preparations. In December 2018, the Government took a decision to make preparations for a no deal exit the principal operational focus within Government, notwithstanding the Government’s ongoingfocus on securing approval for a deal in Parliament. This meant that resources were moved to support no deal preparations, which has supported Government to
meet a number of key milestones in no deal programmes in recent weeks.
Significant policy announcements therefore have taken place to provide certainty to individuals making plans for their future, such as the offer to EEA citizens on leave to remain in a no deal scenario, and updated guidance on motor insurance, vehicle registrations, number plates, and country stickers for driving in the EU after exit.
8. Notwithstanding very significant efforts to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario, the latest internal Government-wide delivery reporting reveals the scale of risk remaining in the limited time available. In February, Departments reported being on track for just under 85% of no deal projects but, within that, on track for just over two thirds of the most critical projects. The delays to no deal preparations are partly due to communications to third parties, including many businesses, not having the intended effect (see below), and also because the acceleration of preparedness since December is not yet bringing delivery of these preparations back on track where there has been prior slippage.
9. The Treasury has made in excess of £4bn available for EU Exit planning since
2016, £2bn of which was allocated in December 2018 to support core EU exit
preparations for the 19-20 financial year. This funding will apply regardless of
whether a deal is agreed, and is ring-fenced to specifically support EU exit.
10. The Government also continues to work with the Scottish and Welsh Governments
and, in the absence of an Executive in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Civil
Service, to make preparations for a potential no deal scenario. The devolved
administrations are invited to relevant meetings of the new Cabinet sub-committee,
11. The Government has also been working where possible to adopt agreements made
between the EU and third countries transitionally, which would otherwise fall away
once the UK leaves the EU. A number of the most critical international agreements
have been signed and are on track to come into force on exit day, including on
aviation and civil nuclear cooperation and safeguarding. Those that are not may
not be in force on exit day. If contingency options were not in place, there would be
a gap in coverage for some international agreements, the impact of which would
vary depending on the nature and scale of the agreement.
12. Around forty of these agreements are trade agreements. To date, the Government
has signed trade agreements with Switzerland, Chile, the Faroe Islands, members
of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement, Israel
and the Palestinian Authority. Discussions with other partners continue with the aim
of replicating the effects of existing EU agreements as far as possible. The
Government is continuing to engage with those other partner countries to conclude
agreements in time for exit day. Intensive discussions are, for instance, happening
now with partners such as SACU+M, EEA EFTA countries, Canada and South
Korea. Other discussions are ongoing. As above, if the UK leaves the EU without a
deal, some agreements will not be concluded in time and therefore will not be in
place for exit day. Agreements which will clearly not be in place for exit day are
Andorra, Japan, Turkey, and San Marino; the government has set out further details
in published guidance. Excluding Japan and Turkey, UK trade with countries with
whom we are seeking continuity represents 11% of total UK trade. The 20 least
valuable trade agreements account for just 0.8% of UK trade.
13. Where discussions are off track, the Government is looking urgently at contingency
options, such as provisional application and bridging mechanisms (e.g. Memoranda
of Understanding) to bring agreements into force on exit.
GATT Article XXIV
14. One argument that has been put forward in relation to our future economic
relationship with the EU is that the UK can simply rely on the provisions under
Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to have tarifffree trade with the EU for a ten-year period. This is a misunderstanding of what the
rules are. As the Secretary of State for International Trade told the House of
Commons on 14 January this year:
Some have suggested that it would be possible under Article XXIV of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to maintain tariff-free trade as an alternative to the
negotiated agreement in a no-deal scenario. There are two immediate problems
facing that suggestion. The first is that it would require the agreement of the EU and
be based on the expectation of a future trade agreement or customs union to be
operable in WTO law. Although it might be argued, as I am sure many in the House
would, that that would be in the economic interests of the EU27, we all know from
experience that the politics of the EU can take precedence over economic
pragmatism. In the political atmosphere of no deal, it would be difficult to cultivate
the good will necessary for that to proceed. Secondly, that suggestion would not
deal with all the regulatory issues—the non-tariff barriers—that are so important to
Third party preparedness
15. Many of the Government’s plans depend on third party or third country action for
successful delivery. In August, September and October 2018, the Government
released a series of technical notices, outlining in detail the potential impacts of a
no deal scenario, as well as the steps that businesses and traders might want to
consider taking to prepare. In recent weeks, the Government has stepped up
communications to businesses and individuals to provide the information they need
to prepare. All this information is available in a dedicated preparedness website:
www.gov.uk/EUExit. The Government is continuing to work to increase funded,
targeted advertising on no deal preparedness, including through radio and social
media. This media campaign is complemented by a substantial volume of briefings
given to relevant industry, trade, consumer and other bodies.
16. Despite communications from the Government, there is little evidence that
businesses are preparing in earnest for a no deal scenario, and evidence indicates
that readiness of small and medium-sized enterprises in particular is low. For
example, without an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI)
number, businesses would not be able to complete the necessary customs
documentation for goods they are importing. As an EORI number registration is
one of the most basic and straightforward parts of the process most businesses
would need to undertake to prepare for no deal, this is assumed to be a generous
indicator of overall readiness. As of February 2019 there had only been around
40,000 registrations for an EORI number, against an estimate of around 240,000
EU-only trading businesses. There is capacity to sign up 11,000 businesses per
day, and so this position could change rapidly with behaviour change from
businesses. In practice, the UK’s approach is based on, in the short-term, allowing
hauliers to pass through the border without stopping, but they would be stopped if
taking goods into France without the right paperwork. The lack of preparation for
EU controls – of which this is an example – greatly increases the probability of
17. Evidence suggests that individual citizens are also not preparing for the effects that
they would feel in a no deal scenario. UK citizens travelling to or living in the EU
would need to complete a number of administrative tasks to ensure that their
interactions with the EU are as unaffected as possible. These range from renewing
passports, to applying for a car insurance green card and International Driving
Permit to drive in the EU. As of February 2019, despite a public information
campaign encouraging the public to seek out the Government’s advice on preparing
for a ‘no deal’, noticeable behaviour change has not been witnessed at any
significant scale. Based on DExEU survey data from January 2019, 55% of UK
adults did not expect to be affected by a no deal exit.
18. Government judges that the reason for this lack of action is often because a no deal
scenario is not seen as a sufficiently credible outcome to take action or outlay
expenditure. In some cases, businesses or individuals are seeking answers to
specific policy questions. As set out above, the Government is finalising policy in
these areas at pace, and prioritising these issues for discussion at the EUXT(P)
Cabinet Committee where needed.
19. Preparations by businesses and citizens are also significantly influenced by actions
taken by the EU Commission and Member States. The UK Government has
discussed no deal with the Commission, who have published three batches of ‘no
deal’ legislation and their own preparedness notices. The unilateral contingency
measures the EU has announced do mitigate some of the most acute immediate
impacts, for example on aviation, road haulage, financial services and potentially
citizens’ rights. The EU has stressed, however, that the mitigations it is putting in
place are only temporary, and some important gaps remain; perhaps most
significantly on data adequacy and action to ensure smooth flow at the border.
The anticipated effects of a no deal scenario
20. Despite the Government’s efforts to prepare for a no deal, a no deal scenario would
have a range of significant impacts for the UK. The key areas of residual impact,
notwithstanding the mitigating action being undertaken, are set out below.
21. The Government has already published long term analysis of the impact of a no
deal scenario that implicitly assumes a smooth, orderly transition to WTO rules.
This estimates that the UK economy would be 6.3-9% smaller in the long term in a
no deal scenario (after around 15 years) than it otherwise would have been when
compared with today’s arrangements, assuming no action is taken. There would
also be significant variation across the UK (Wales -8.1%, Scotland -8.0%, Northern
Ireland -9.1% and the North East of England -10.5%). This analysis does not
account for any short term disruptions, which would be likely to have additional
short and long run economic impacts in an immediate no deal scenario. No
modelling can completely capture the complex ways in which the UK economy
could be affected by exiting the EU, particularly given the unprecedented
circumstances of the UK’s departure. While the analysis draws on a robust set of
tools and evidence, there is an inherent uncertainty around this type of economic
analysis. The results are therefore presented as ranges, and should be interpreted
with caution. EU Member States are also expected to face economic risks following
a no deal exit.
22. The Bank of England published EU exit analysis on 28 November 2018 in response
to the Treasury Committee’s request for “analysis of how leaving the European
Union would affect its ability to deliver its objectives for monetary and financial
stability”. The Governor of the Bank of England also appeared before the Treasury
Committee to discuss this analysis on the 4 December 2018. The analysis and
transcripts from the Treasury Committee session are publicly available.
23. Despite the steps being taken by Government to manage the negative effects of no
deal, there are a number of areas where the impact on trade, businesses and
individuals would be particularly significant.
Border issues, including inbound and outbound ‘roll on, roll off’ road traffic
24. When the UK leaves the EU, it will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union,
and, in the absence of a trade agreement, the EU will treat the UK as a third country
for trade in goods. On exit, this could affect the availability of goods in a number of
ways, including customs administration and delays at the border. In the absence of
an alternative agreement, UK citizens would be treated as third country nationals by
Member States, and potentially be subject to full Schengen checks. This would
mean they would no longer be able to use e-gates, and checks to enter EU Member
States could take longer than they currently do.
25. In a no deal scenario, both the UK and EU would need to apply customs and excise
rules and VAT to goods moving between the UK and EU, as they are currently
applied to goods traded in the rest of the world. Every consignment would require a
customs declaration, and so around 240,000 UK businesses that currently only
trade with the EU would need to interact with customs processes for the first time,
should they continue to trade with the EU. HMRC has estimated that the
administrative burden on businesses from customs declarations alone, on current
(2016) UK-EU trade in goods could be around £13bn p.a. (not accounting for any
26. Industries with supply chains that are integrated within the EU would face additional
costs and burdens as a result of new customs procedures, compliance
requirements and reductions in traffic-flow across the Channel.
27. Although the Government has made progress in ensuring that additional controls at
the UK border would not cause disruption, including phasing Entry Summary
Declarations and Transitional Simplified Procedures, those imposed by Member
States would be disruptive. There have been efforts from some Member States to
put in place the new infrastructure which would be required at the border to
implement customs controls. However, this work is at an early stage and even
when completed would lead to new burdens, and would not be the same as the fully
free-flowing border in place today. In particular, third country rules applied by the
EU, including France, would mean that no goods are allowed to leave the port until
they have provided the correct paperwork and have been customs cleared
(including any necessary checks at the port, for example on products of animal
origin). More significantly, Member States would hold any goods which are not
correctly customs cleared. This would hold up all goods where trades are not
prepared, expected to be a significant proportion in the early period after exit day.
The Government’s worst case planning assumption is that, as a result of French
checks and lack of businesses readiness, the flow of goods through the Short
Channel Crossings (Dover and Eurotunnel) could be very significantly reduced for
28. However, French willingness to facilitate cross-border flows means that the
Government does not currently expect ‘day one’ disruption to be at the most severe
end of its planning assumptions. The French have begun construction of Border
Inspection Posts (BIPs) in both Calais and Coquelles, which they intend to have
operational for day one after exit. However, at this stage only initial ground works
are underway. The recruitment of vets for these BIPs began in November 2018.
The French also intend to increase the capacity of the Douane (French Customs) to
process HGVs arriving from the UK, and some French politicians have also
indicated recently that they want to keep traffic as fluid as possible.
29. One of the most visible ways in which the UK would be affected by delays in goods
crossing the Channel is our food supply, 30% of which comes from the
EU. Although our food supply is diverse, resilient, and sourced from a wide variety
of countries, the potential disruption to trade across the Short Channel Crossings
would lead to reduced availability and choice of products. This would not lead to an
overall shortage of food in the UK, and less than 1 in 10 food items would be
directly affected by any delays across the Short Channel Crossings. However, at
the time of year we will be leaving the EU, the UK is particularly reliant on the Short
Channel Crossings for fresh fruit and vegetables. In the absence of other action
from Government, some food prices are likely to increase, and there is a risk that
consumer behaviour could exacerbate, or create, shortages in this scenario. As of
February 2019, many businesses in the food supply industry are unprepared for a
no deal scenario.
30. In order to mitigate against the lack of business readiness for no deal, the
Government has announced transitional simplified procedures for EU trade at rollon roll-off ports, which will make it easier for traders importing from the EU to
comply with customs requirements immediately after EU Exit. HMRC has also
published its intention to phase in Entry Summary Declarations for imports from the
EU over six months following 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), rather than requiring these from day 1
31. In a no deal scenario there would be wider macroeconomic effects, and a number
of factors would impact on the trade and economic viability of UK industries, and in
particular could be expected to increase the price of imports Such factors would
include the resurrection of non-tariff barriers with the EU, and countries covered by
EU free trade agreements but not yet new UK ones, and any restrictions at the
border which could delay imports and exports. Despite the use of a continuity
approach where possible, and notwithstanding very significant efforts to prepare for
a no deal scenario, the impact of a no deal scenario is likely to be severe in a
number of areas.
32. Industries would need to respond to the application of EU tariffs. These would vary
by sector. While for some sectors (such as life sciences or electronics) the effect of
any tariffs would be minor, other sectors would be more affected. For example, the
EU would introduce tariffs of around 70% on beef and 45% on lamb exports, and
10% on finished automotive vehicles. This would be compounded by the challenges
of even modest reductions in flow at the border. Given the unprecedented nature of
the sort of economy-wide adjustment that would be required in a no deal scenario, it
is impossible to accurately predict the ability of businesses to adapt. The second
order effects on local economies dominated by a small number of industries, or on
businesses in the supply chains for those companies, is also hard to predict with
precision, although it would be likely to be uncertain and costly.
33. Case study: The automotive industry. The UK automotive industry is highly export ntensive. In 2018, 81.5% of UK vehicle production (1.24 million vehicle) was
exported. 42.8% of UK vehicle production was exported to the EU27. The risk of
no deal is of major concern for the industry, due to the high tariffs which would be
applied on exports to the EU. This would be 10% on finished vehicles, and around
2.5 – 4% on components. Although wider macroeconomic effects will influence how
the sector is affected, low operating margins may mean that in many cases extra
costs could be likely to be passed on to consumers at the showroom. Car
manufacturers also use a just-in-time production model, which would be disrupted
by delays at the border.
34. The Government will bring forward secondary legislation and set out the UK import
tariff in a no deal scenario soon, in line with the provisions in the Taxation (CrossBorder Trade) Act. The Government is committed to an open and liberal economy
that works for everyone. There needs to be a balance between protecting
consumers and downstream users from the possible price impacts of a no deal
scenario and avoiding the exposure of industries to unfair competition. Further
details will be announced in due course.
35. Overall, the cumulative impact from a ‘no deal’ scenario is expected to be more
severe in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain, and to last for longer. This is
because of Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances, including in particular its
geographical position as the only part of the UK with a land border with the EU, and
the current lack of an Executive in Northern Ireland.
36. The Government has been clear that it is committed to avoiding a hard border
between Northern Ireland and Ireland in any scenario. The Government will shortly
publish further details on its immediate, temporary, arrangements for trade between
Northern Ireland and Ireland in a no deal scenario. The Government would need to
work urgently with the Irish Government and the EU to find any sustainable longerterm solution.
37. In a no deal scenario there is an expectation of disruption to closely interwoven
supply chains and increasing costs that would affect the viability of many
businesses across Northern Ireland. There is a risk that businesses in Northern
Ireland will not have sufficient time to prepare. This could result in business failure,
and/or relocation to Ireland with knock-on consequences for the Northern Ireland
economy and unemployment. Northern Ireland is particularly vulnerable given its
high proportion of, and reliance upon SMEs (75% of all private sector employment)
and the number of businesses who trade directly with Ireland (Northern Ireland’s
largest international export market). The agri-food sector is a disproportionately
large part of Northern Ireland’s economy and located predominantly in border / rural
areas. It is particularly vulnerable given its reliance on cross-border supply chains
in the production stage and in finished products. Disruption could also include
impacts for the single electricity market (SEM), cross-border cooperation on areas
such as crime and security, and potential for community tensions to be heightened.
Groups could seek to exploit gaps in law enforcement and any divergence between
Northern Ireland and Ireland, which may lead to increases in smuggling and
associated criminality. The Government is committed to restoring an Executive in
Northern Ireland but in this context this would become more challenging.
38. Case Study – Single Electricity Market. The Single Electricity Market (SEM)
between Northern Ireland and Ireland is integrated more than any other crossborder wholesale market. In the first instance, even in a no deal scenario, the UK
would seek to agree with Ireland a continuation of the SEM, which would minimise
impact on exit. This relies on cooperation with Ireland and the EU, which is not
within the UK’s gift to unilaterally control or mitigate.
39. The service sector (which makes up around 80% of UK GDP) is supported by free
movement of people and a range of cross-cutting regulation such as mutual
recognition of qualifications. In a no deal scenario, UK businesses would be treated
as third-country service providers by the EU. The UK would risk a loss of market
access and increase in non-tariff barriers. UK businesses would face barriers to
establishment and service provisions in the EU which they had not previously faced,
including nationality requirements, mobility, recognition of qualifications and
regulatory barriers when setting up subsidiaries in EU member states.
40. Case study – legal services. The legal services sector generated £31.5bn in
revenue in the UK in 2016, as well as underpinning other service sectors including
the financial industry. UK legal professionals benefit from being able to provide full
service to clients, across the EU as well as domestically. In a no deal scenario, the
EU has said that UK nationals would be treated in the same was as third country
nationals with regards to recognition of their professional qualifications. This would
mean the loss of the automatic right to provide short term ‘fly in fly out’ services, as
the type of work lawyers can do in each individual member state may vary, and the
loss of rights of audience in EU courts. UK lawyers and businesses would be
responsible for ensuring they can operate in each Member State they want to work
41. Case study – financial services. In the financial services sector, firms could lose
their regulatory permissions to conduct cross-border business in a ‘no deal’ exit. In
addition, the Commission has implied that third country access (‘equivalence’) will
not be in place for the UK across EU legislation in no deal. The Government has
taken action to minimise disruption for UK households and businesses, including by
introducing temporary regimes for EEA firms operating in the UK. The European
Commission has also taken action in some areas, and some Member States are
introducing ‘no deal’ legislation to mitigate risks of disruption to certain financial
services provided by UK-based firms. However, as the Financial Policy Committee
said in its Financial Stability Report in November 2018, it is unclear how
comprehensive Member State actions to mitigate certain risks will be by March. The
Commission has stated that it is only focusing on areas in its self-interest, for EU
financial stability, and that any decisions taken may be conditional and time-limited.
42. In addition to this, financial services firms have set up new European entities as part
of their no-deal planning. The Financial Policy Committee also said in its Financial
Stability Report from November 2018 that the UK banking system is strong enough
to continue to serve UK households and businesses even in the event of a
disorderly exit. And most risks of disruption to the financial services that EU firms
provide to UK households and businesses in the event of a disorderly exit have
been addressed, including through legislation. However, the absence of action by
EU authorities to mitigate risks in some areas of financial services, there could be
some disruption in a no deal scenario.
Regulated, integrated and just-in-time industries
43. Goods businesses would face additional regulatory barriers in a no deal
scenario. For harmonised goods sectors (such as chemicals, aerospace,
medicines and automotive) that are subject to EU common rules, the continuity
approach means some form of continued recognition of EU product requirements
and associated compliance activity would continue for a limited period after the UK
has left the EU in a no deal scenario. This would ensure that these goods continue
to flow onto the UK market.
44. Those UK businesses which export goods to the EU would still have to have their
products tested with the relevant EU27-based assessment body, which would add
to their compliance costs. Existing licences and authorisations for UK authorities
would likely not be acceptable in the EU27 beyond the short-term unilateral
commitments made by the EU.
45. Case study: The chemicals sector
a) The chemicals sector is the UK’s second largest manufacturing exporter by
value, exporting £28.3bn in 2017, £17bn of which was exported to the EU. The
sector has four main clusters of operations in the North of England and
Scotland, and is an important contributor to the local economies. Supply chains
are highly integrated within the EU, and products will cross borders a number of
times before becoming final products, making them vulnerable to delays at the
b) Currently, businesses who manufacture or import substances into the EU need
to register them with the central European Chemicals Agency. As of August
2018, UK businesses held over 12,000 of these registrations. Following a no
deal scenario, UK companies would only be able to sell into the EU providing
they have transferred their existing registration to an EU-based entity. The
European Chemicals Agency transfer fee for a single registration is around
£1,500, excluding admin costs. Businesses would need to meet both UK and
EU requirements when they register new chemicals or seek authorisation to sell
into both markets, creating duplication of registration fees and additional
administrative burdens. EU WTO tariffs of on average 5% would also apply.
46. Trade in non-harmonised goods (such as furniture, sports equipment and bicycles)
is governed by the principle of mutual recognition. A UK business that wants to sell
goods in the EU would have to conform to the domestic regulations of the first
member state that it exports to, and so may have to track multiple domestic
requirements, or have less flexibility about where an initial sale can be. However,
non-harmonised goods represent a minority of UK-EU trade in goods (26.8% of UK
exports to the EU and 16.8% of UK imports from the EU) and it is likely that only a
subset of trade is reliant on the mutual recognition principle. This means that in the
short term, other factors being equal, the majority of non-harmonised trade in goods
would be likely to continue.
47. Uninterrupted personal data flows are critical for many UK businesses’ processes
and all trading activity. For example, a wide range of financial services activities
require the transfer of personal data, including the servicing of cross-border
contracts and payments. The UK would need to seek adequacy decisions from the
EU, which the EU has said they will not start until the UK is a third country.
Therefore, in the event of a no deal exit, there would be a gap in the lawful free flow
of personal data while the assessment takes place. Alternative legal bases to
enable the continued lawful flow of data, in the absence of adequacy, are available.
To prepare for a no deal scenario, many UK businesses need to work with their EU
partners to secure a legal basis for the continued transfer of personal data from the
EEA to the UK. Businesses are at varied levels of readiness and the Government is
engaging widely to increase awareness of actions that businesses can take.
48. Effects of a no deal scenario would also be felt by individuals. In addition to the
economic impacts detailed above, there would be practical barriers preventing UK
nationals from interacting seamlessly with the EU in the way they do currently. UK
nationals would still be able to travel to the Schengen Area visa-free, for 90 days in
every 180, but would not be able to undertake paid activity during this time. For UK
nationals living in another EU Member State, citizens with less than five years’
residency would be subject to the rules of the Member State in which they are
living, including their immigration rules. Although most Member States have now
announced unilateral arrangements for resident UK nationals, the offers do vary.
The Government is encouraging Member States to reciprocate the rightly generous
offer that the UK has made to resident EU nationals, but in the absence of an
arrangement of this sort UK nationals would see changes ranging from the
administrative to more profound effects, such as the potential need to arrange for
Impact across the UK
49. The effects on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to be similar to those
for the rest of the UK, as described above. In addition to issues arising specifically
in Northern Ireland, and the economic impacts mentioned in paragraph 20, key
examples of particular impact on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland include:
a) Impact on the UK’s agriculture, forestry or fishing industries would have
particular effects in Scotland. ONS figures demonstrate that these three
industries account for 1.21% of Scotland’s economy, compared to 0.46% of
b) Around 92% of Welsh lamb exports by value go to the EU. Consequently,
disruption to animal exports would likely be felt strongly by the Welsh lamb
c) Impacts on the UK’s food and drink sector would be more pronounced in Wales,
Scotland, and particularly Northern Ireland, where the sector comprises 5.07%
of the economy, compared to 1.38% for England.
British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies
50. The UK Government continues to work closely with British Overseas Territories,
Crown Dependencies, and Gibraltar to prepare for all outcomes, including a no deal
scenario. Overseas Territories are likely to experience effects to those parts of their
economies with close ties with the EU.
51. Government has been accelerating its preparations for a no deal scenario since
September, with a particular emphasis since December 2018. However, the short
time remaining before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) does not allow Government to unilaterally
mitigate the effects of no deal. Even where it can take unilateral action, the lack of
preparation by businesses and individuals is likely to add to the disruption
experienced in a no deal scenario.