Having represented the industry at a recent Government meeting on a potential no deal Brexit, Kevin Buckley, GGF Group Chief Executive has issued a reflective statement with advice to all companies in the industry, should the UK leave the EU on 31 March, with no withdrawal agreement.
Although a no deal Brexit is supposed to be a low probability (with the worst case being a backstop), there seems to be no end to the frantic coverage on that very scenario becoming a reality.
A few weeks ago at the Construction Leaders Council Forum regarding the possibility of a no deal Brexit, it is worth sharing some potential implications should a no deal Brexit be the eventual outcome.
- Industry standards
These will continue “as-is” EU standards may be rebranded as UK standards. However, the reverse is not true. After a no-deal Brexit, anyone putting products on the market that have to comply with CPR ongoing testing and will have to undertake any retesting with an EU accredited body (not in the UK).
- Importing and VAT
If you import from the EU, you will have to pay VAT at the point of entry to get access to your goods. There is a HMRC guidelines document about this which you can find here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/partnership-pack-preparing-for-a-no-deal-eu-exit
Port processes will be more complicated – so prepare for delays to your imports and exports
From day one of a potential no deal Brexit, imports and exports will be regulated by existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements – it is advisable to be ready for this in advance! In the case of a no-deal Brexit, it is highly unlikely there will be any alternative import deals that are more favourable to the UK
If you export, be aware that each country in the EU generally has slightly different import regimes. It is advisable to be prepared for different importing rules for different countries in the event of a no deal Brexit.
A recent white paper on immigration could affect your business should there be a no deal Brexit.
The criteria of this white paper appear to be;
- If an immigrant has been here 5yrs+ then he/she is eligible to stay, work, receive benefits and pension rights
- A skilled or semi-skilled immigrant employee will be allowed to continue working in the UK providing they have an employer who will act as a sponsor. (This could be subject to a salary threshold)
- There will be no limit to the number of workers in this category
- An unskilled immigrant employee, you can work here for a maximum of 12 months, with a 12 month cooling-off period between visits
- Immigrant would be unlikely to access the benefits system
Please note all of the above may change as this is only a white paper at present.
Above all, the message from Government and from the GGF is; be prepared. There can be no doubt that things could become somewhat chaotic on day one and for some months afterwards in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 31 March 2019. Though many believe that eventually EU/UK business drivers will come into play. The GGF concern is that, for some of our Members who are in the SME category, those months of disruption could create some business specific issues around cash flow, supply of goods and completion of work.
The GGF will continue in discussions with Government on Brexit and will inform its Members first on any significant events.