Preparing businesses for EU Exit

Leaving the EU means businesses may need to prepare for change.

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario. Without a deal, businesses may need to take action prior to exit and we recommend that businesses ensure they are prepared.

The government has created an online tool for businesses to find the latest information on EU Exit, how they will be affected, and the actions they can take to prepare. Businesses can access the tool here and sign up to receive customised alerts. New information will be published over the coming weeks so businesses should continue to check in on a regular basis.


Several government departments have recently published information on the steps that businesses may need to take to prepare for our exit from the EU, please see updates below.

  • The Border Delivery Group and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have published a series of short videos and leaflets to help businesses prepare for changes at the UK/EU border in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The videos set out the actions that businesses will need to take to continue to trade in a ‘no deal’ EU Exit, and direct them towards further information available online. Along with a general video and leaflet for all businesses, there are tailored products for specific industries. There are also two deep dive videos available that provide more detail on importing and exporting in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The videos are all available here, and a toolkit will soon be available online with the full range of materials and advice on how to use them to engage with businesses.

    A Collection of Documents published by the Government on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

    This Document puts the government’s technical notices in context, explaining the current progress in negotiations and the unlikely circumstances in which a no deal scenario might materialise.

    It also explains the government’s overarching approach to preparing the UK for this outcome in order to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth and orderly exit in all scenarios.


    1. Overview
    2. Applying for EU-funded programmes
    3. Driving and transport
    4. Farming and fishing
    5. Handling civil legal cases
    6. Importing and exporting
    7. Labelling products and making them safe
    8. Meeting business regulations
    9. Money and tax
    10. Personal data and consumer rights
    11. Protecting the environment
    12. Regulating energy
    13. Regulating medicines and medical equipment
    14. Regulating veterinary medicines
    15. Sanctions
    16. Satellites and space
    17. Seafaring
    18. State aid
    19. Studying in the UK or the EU
    20. Travelling between the UK and the EU
    21. Workplace rights

    How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal – CLICK HERE


    HMRC has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses across the UK, including Northern Ireland, which only trade with the EU.

    The letters explain changes to customs, excise and VAT in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and what businesses can do to prepare.

    HMRC will also continue to engage with businesses, representative organisations, intermediaries and infrastructure providers to ensure they have the information and support they need.

    Letters on ‘no deal’ Brexit advice for businesses only trading with the EU – CLICK HERE


    This Partnership Pack is designed to help businesses preparing for day one if we leave the EU without a deal.  This Pack was recently made available to assist businesses and those providing business advice and support to prepare for EU Exit

    You can use this Pack for your contingency planning and to help your customers, members and clients to:

    • think about how they will need to adapt their business to comply with new systems, processes and controls
    • assess the impact of the increased demand for customs declarations on their business
    • consider whether they need to recruit and train additional staff
    • stay up-to-date with these changes

    The Pack also provides step-by-step guides for importing and exporting in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, available either as a PDF or plain text.

    Partnership pack: preparing for changes at the UK border after a ‘no deal’ EU exit – CLICK HERE


    This Notice, prepared by the European Commission, sets out the consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without a formal, ratified agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

    It covers information and guidance on:

    • Climate Action
    • Communications Networks, Content and Technology
    • Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion
    • Energy
    • Environment
    • Financial Service c& Capital Markets Union
    • Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
    • Industrial Security
    • Justice & Consumers
    • Justice & Consumers / Mobility & Transport
    • Maritime Affairs & Fisheries
    • Mobility & Transport
    • Health & Food Safety
    • Secretariat – General
    • Trade / Taxation & Customs Union
    • Travelling

    Preparedness notices – CLICK HERE


    This checklist has been prepared in response BCC survey findings, which suggest that a significant number of firms are either watching and waiting – or taking no action at all. It is useful as a basis for business planning at both operational and Board level.  It highlights the key areas in which you should consider possible changes, and provides resources that can help you plan.

    The keys areas covered are:

    • Workforce & future skills needs
    • Future staffing requirements
    • UK/EU customs checks
    • Potential delays at UK/EU border
    • Tariffs on UK-EU trade
    • Rules of Origin in UK-EU trade
    • EU trade agreements with third countries
    • Customs facilitations, reliefs etc.
    • Customs/export training
    • Incoterms
    • Import VAT
    • VAT registration in the EU
    • Currency risk
    • Intellectual Property
    • Contracts review
    • EU regulatory regime and data protection
    • Competition policy and state aid

    Business Brexit Checklist – CLICK HERE


    With the day on which the UK exits the EU fast approaching, the FSB feel they have a responsibility to help their smaller businesses.  This guide covers; End State Brexit Scenarios; Principles of Good Contingency Planning / Business Continuity Planning and Regulation and the European Union (Withdrawal Act 2018)

    Key objectives of the Pack are to help member businesses to:

    a) Understand the Withdrawal Agreement including EU Commission and UK Government ‘backstop’ propositions to avoid a hard border on the Island of Ireland;

    b) Understand the range of ‘end state’ scenarios that are possible including;

    • No deal (with no transition period)
    • Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
    • Association Agreement (Chequers)
    • European Economic Area (EEA)
    • European Free Trade Association (EFTA) / Switzerland

    c) Prepare for the scenario that would cause the most disruption to the business continuity of small businesses in the short to medium term.

    Small Business Brexit Pack: Introduction – CLICK HERE


    Although originally prepared for Lloyds Bank customers, this information pack is a compilation of common queries raised by the Bank’s business customers, expressed as a series of FAQs and they have tried to detail clear answers and links to more information where relevant.

    The questions cover general enquiries, business strategy, operations and business practices, supply chain management, financing and investments.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Brexit – CLICK HERE


    This is another Government publication.  The document is intended as a guide to support understanding of the legal drafting of the Withdrawal Agreement as published on 14 November 2018 following a format of:

    1. Preamble
    2. Part One: Common Provisions
    3. Part Two: Citizens’ Rights
    4. Part Three: Separation Provisions
    5. Part Four: Implementation (Transition) Period
    6. Part Five: Financial Provisions
    7. Part Six: Institutional and Final Provisions
    8. Protocol: Northern Ireland
    9. Protocol: Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Cyprus
    10. Protocol: Gibraltar
    11. Annexes to the Withdrawal Agreement

    Explainer for the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union – DOWNLOAD HERE


    Following the publication of an updated version of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, jointly published by the UK & European Commission on 14thNovember 2018, the BCC has put together a FAQ on the Agreement and the likely next steps in the process.

    The following areas are covered:

    1. What is the Withdrawal Agreement?
    2. What is the Political Declaration?
    3. What is the transition period?
    4. How will the transition period end?
    5. What is the “backstop” and why do we need one?
    6. How would a backstop operate?
    7. When would the backstop end?
    8. What does this mean for businesses trading with and in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?
    9. What happens next?
    10. What should businesses be doing to prepare for Brexit?

    Brexit Agreement FAQs – CLICK HERE

Data Protection

1. Data Protection if there is no Brexit deal

This notice sets out the actions UK organisations should take to enable the continued flow of personal data between the UK and the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place.

2. Amendments to UK data protection law in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal

This notice provides more detail about how our data protection law will work in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK businesses will need to ensure they continue to be compliant with data protection law. For UK businesses that operate only within the UK there will be no immediate change. For UK businesses that operate internationally or exchange personal data with partners in other countries, there may be changes that need to be made ahead of the UK leaving the EU to ensure minimal risk of disruption.

3. Leaving the EU without a deal – 6 steps to take (data protection)

This guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) sets out in six steps what your business should be doing to be prepared for EU exit. Further information and resources on EU exit can be found on the ICO website.

4.   ICO Guidance on International Data Transfers

You should read this section if:

  • you are a UK-based business or organisation and the GDPR currently applies to your processing of personal data; AND
  • you send personal data outside the UK; or
  • you receive personal data from the EEA; or
  • you receive personal data from countries or territories which are covered by an adequacy decision.

This section does not apply to you if:

  • you never transfer personal data outside the UK and never receive personal data from outside the UK; OR
  • you only transfer personal data outside the UK to consumers or only receive personal data from outside the UK directly from consumers.

ICO Guidance on International Data Transfers

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