EU Exit Business Readiness Forum meeting on 11th April
Summary notes from the EU Exit Business Readiness Forum meeting on 11th April. BEIS presentation is attached for reference.
As Article 50 has been extended to October, BEIS are planning on hosting these meetings on a monthly basis.
- Andy Harrison, Head of EU Exit Stakeholder Engagement, BEIS
- Oliver Newton, Stakeholder Engagement Team, the Department for exiting the EU (DExEU)
- Francis Evans, Head of Finance, British Business Bank
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) held their tenth EU Exit Business Readiness Forum on Thursday 11th April at BEIS central London offices in Victoria. There was no forum meeting on the 4th April. This session was initially intended as a summary and update session, but as HMRC, Cross Border delivery Group and DIT representatives were not available the session instead covered finance for business and the purpose of the British Business Bank.
The forum was hosted by Andy Harrison, Head of EU Exit Stakeholder Engagement, BEIS with panellists Oliver Newton (DExEU) and Francis Evans (British Business Bank)
The Forum, aimed primarily at representative organisations such as trade associations and professional bodies, has 3 main objectives - to share the information UK businesses need to prepare for EU Exit; to provide materials to association bodies to cascade to members; and to respond to and gather feedback on existing and new materials circulated in readiness for the UK’s withdrawal.
If the PM’s deal fails again and a new deal is proposed, this in theory will have to go back to the EU to negotiate. However, the EU have confirmed there is no intention to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement.
If cross party negotiations break down it is likely that parliament will work on a list of points to vote on. As this will not be indicative, there is a potential for anything to be on the table.
Parliamentary Update – Oliver Newton
Prior to the EU council meeting (10th April) the PM requested an extension of the Article 50 period to 30th June. During the meeting itself, doubt was cast as to whether the UK could come to an agreement by the June date and it was proposed that this period be extended to 31st October, which the PM agreed. During this time period, the UK will remain a full member of the EU as it is now.
Described as a flexible extension, the UK can terminate this agreement early by ratifying the withdrawal deal. If this is done before May, it will avoid the EU parliamentary elections and the UK would effectively leave the EU on the 1st June. If a withdrawal deal cannot be agreed before May, the UK will be required to participate fully in EU parliamentary elections. The PM has made it clear that her ambition is to leave before May.
It should be noted that whilst the exit date has been moved, the implementation or transition period has not. This date remains as December 2020 as per the EU Withdrawal Agreement and the EU members have confirmed that they will not re-open the agreement.
Access to Finance and the British Business Bank – Francis Evans
This session was intended to explain the work of the British Business Bank and offer a broad summary of where business finance is currently at.
The objective of BEIS Business Finance team is to ensure all businesses have access to the finance needed to start and facilitate growth. From start-up loans to long term investments, their remit covers debt, equity and asset finance. The department has formed key partnerships with the British Business Bank (BBB), as the UK’s development bank, and UK Finance which effectively acts as a trade association for banking and finance providers.
Speaking of SME’s it was perceived that demand was reasonably subdued with 34% of all SME’s making use of external finance whilst 48% are classed as permanent “non-borrowers”. There is no evidence to indicate that those business who do not borrow are not as profitable as those who do, however there may be less innovation and growth. Interestingly, 73% of all SME’s would prefer not to borrow even if this means missing out on a potential growth opportunity. The cause of reluctance to borrow is likely to vary per industry and may be due to a perception that applications for finance will be rejected, however it was noted that in 2018 around 80% of applications were successful.
It was noted that cash balances of SME’s typically outweigh borrowing by 2-1, resulting in an overall drop in demand for external finance.
Where market gaps have been identified, the department has put in place a series of actions, such as new start up loans for new businesses between £5k and 25k (on average 10,000 per year); introduction of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee which effectively guarantees to pay up to 75% of the finance cost in case of default; and the ENABLE programme for smaller businesses.
The British Business Bank itself, wholly owned by government, is around 5 years old and is the 2nd largest investor in UK venture capital funds (the 1st being the EU Investment Fund). The bank has recently launched its “Lets Talk Business” campaign aimed at providing more sector specific support including how to assess and manage cash flows; trading and making payments overseas and further resources including business groups guidance.
Further information is available at the following links:
- Understanding the finance options available to businesses - the Finance Hub (BBB)
- to aid in planning and applying for finance - Let’s talk business (UK Finance)
NEW - Latest Position on the EU Exit Timetable
Concluding the 10th April Special European Council, the PM agreed with the EU27 leaders an extension to the EU Exit process. The key points are that:
- The UK and the EU27 have agreed to grant a flexible extension of the Article 50 period for six months to 31 October;
- If we are able to pass a deal in the first three weeks of May, the UK will not have to participate in European Parliament elections, and the UK will officially leave the EU on Saturday 1 June.
- If the UK has not ratified the Withdrawal Agreement by the 22 May 2019, and continues to be a member after this date, then the UK must hold European Parliamentary elections. If the UK chooses not to hold these elections, the withdrawal will take place on 1 June 2019.
- If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by both parties before 31 October, the extension would be terminated (withdrawal would take place on the first day of the following month);
- The agreement also includes a “take stock” moment at the 20-21 June European Council;
- During this time, the UK will continue sincere cooperation as a full Member State with all the relevant rights and obligations;
- HMG has agreed this extension through a letter from Sir Tim Barrow to Donald Tusk.
The PM confirmed in her press conference that further talks will take place between the Government and the Opposition to seek a way forward on EU Exit.
Tools & Resources
NEW - FCO Communications Pack on UK Travellers to the EU
FCO have published a communications pack for partners on UK Travellers to the EU. This strand of the campaign aims to reach British people to:
- inform them that EU Exit could affect their travel
- encourage them to find official information on gov.uk/euexit and take appropriate action before they travel.
As this pack is updated as information develops, it is strongly recommended that the latest version is used. Up to date information can be checked and downloaded from: UK Travellers to the EU
NEW - Cross Government Communications Toolkit on Travelling to the UK after EU Exit
Cross Government communications toolkit published on travelling to the UK after EU Exit which is now available for partners to use. The aim of the campaign is to:
- Reassure EU citizens that they can continue to travel to the UK
- Direct travellers to the UK towards www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-after-brexit to understand what will and will not change;
- Encourage travellers to take action to prepare for these changes.
The communications toolkit sets out the main areas of policy for travellers to the UK, and the range of digital communications products you can use to engage with your customers and stakeholders on these areas.
This pack will be updated as information develops. Please regularly check that you have the latest version, which is available to view or download from: Travelling to the UK after EU Exit
Importing and Exporting
APHA updated guidance on export horses and ponies: special rules. Updates - guidance following the EU’s decision to list the UK as a third country for the export of equines: Export Horses and Ponies Special Rules
DEFRA updated guidance on importing and exporting plants and plant products if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Updates – Added PDF on No Deal Requirements in ‘Exporting plants and plant products to the EU’ section: Importing and Exporting Plants and Plant Products if there is No Withdrawal Deal
DEFRA updated guidance on importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. Updates - information on the EU to UK notification process: Importing Animals Animal Products and High Risk Food and Feed Not of Animal Origin if the UK Leaves the EU With No Deal
DEFRA updated guidance on exporting animals, animal products, fish and fishery products if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. Updates - Add that the EU has now listed the UK as a ‘third country’: Exporting Animals Animal Products Fish and Fishery Products if the UK Leaves the EU With No Deal
DEFRA updated guidance on EU import of animals and animal products: notify authorities. Updates - Info on the EU to UK notification process: EU Import of Animals and Products Food Feed Notify Authorities
HMRC updated their partnership pack: preparing for changes at the UK border after a no deal EU exit. Updates - The partnership pack page has been re-published as a set of communications materials for stakeholders to use. The page also includes links to up-to-date detailed guidance elsewhere on GOV.UK: Partnership Pack Preparing for a No Deal EU Exit
Regulations and Standards
DfT updated guidance for international road haulage: operator licences and permits. Updates - Cabotage and cross-trade rules if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019 to confirm you’d be allowed to carry out 2 cabotage or cross-trade 2 journeys until 31 December 2019: International Authorisations and Permits for Road Haulage
HSC updated guidance for the health and care sector on planning for a possible no-deal EU Exit. Updates - Overseas visitor charging: guidance for NHS service providers on updates to regulations’ has been added to the document collection under the ‘Health and care services: guidance’ heading. Added the updated document ‘Quality and safety of human blood and blood products if the UK leaves the EU without a deal’: Planning for a Possible No Deal EU Exit Information for the Health and Care Sector
MHRA updated guidance on making submissions to the MHRA in a no deal scenario. Updates - Added information on the transition between reporting to EU and UK systems in the event of a no deal scenario, and the Business Continuity Plan for MHRA Gateway and ICSR Submissions: Making Submissions to the MHRA in a No Deal Scenario
Workforce and People
NEW - The British Embassy in Dublin is providing updated information to UK nationals living in Ireland on the UK’s exit from the European Union: Information for UK Nationals Living in Ireland
NEW – Cross Government guidance published on recognition of professional qualifications: guidance for regulatory bodies: Recognition of Professional Qualifications Guidance for Regulatory Bodies
NEW – Cross Government guidance published on visiting Europe after Brexit: Visit Europe after Brexit
Cross Government guidance updated on visiting the UK after Brexit. Updates - To add information on school travellers entering the UK: Visiting the UK after Brexit
NEW – DCMS published guidance on mobile roaming after EU Exit: Mobile Roaming after EU Exit
HMPO updated guidance on passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit. Updates - Guidance and link to checker tool: Passport Rules for Travel to Europe after Brexit
NEW - HO announced funding awarded to support vulnerable EU citizens apply for settled status: Funding Awarded to Support Vulnerable EU Citizens Apply for Settled Status
NEW - HO published guidance for applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme who are applying from abroad: EU Settlement Scheme Applying from Outside the UK
HO updated guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme, employer toolkit. Updates - Added Z card document on the EU Settlement Scheme overview for EU citizens in the UK. Updated to add social media graphics for Twitter and Facebook: EU Settlement Scheme Employer Toolkit
HO updated guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme, community leader’s toolkit. Updates - Added Z card document on the EU Settlement Scheme overview for EU citizens in the UK. Updated to add social media graphics for Twitter and Facebook: EU Settlement Scheme Community Leaders Toolkit
HO updated guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme Assisted Digital service. Updates - Assisted digital locations updated: EU Settlement Scheme Assisted Digital Service
HO updated guidance on example case studies: EU Settlement Scheme. Updates - Removes references to application fee: Example Case Studies EU Settlement Scheme
Energy & Climate
BEIS updated guidance on meeting climate change requirements if there’s no Brexit deal. Updates - The 2018 compliance deadline to surrender allowances for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is now 30 April 2019. The Carbon Emissions Tax will not be commencing on 15 April 2019. Further information on the implications of the extension for carbon pricing will be set out in due course: Meeting Climate Change Requirements if there is No Brexit Deal
BEIS updated guidance on shipping radioactive waste and spent fuel after Brexit. Updates - Added forms for shipments of radioactive waste and spent fuel: Shipping Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel after a No Deal Brexit
IPO updated guidance on changes to SPC and patent law if UK leaves the EU without a deal. Updates - A link to the Patents (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 legislation has been added to the guidance: SPC and Patent Law if UK Leaves the EU Without a Deal
EU & UK Funding
NEW - DfE published guidance to register to claim Erasmus+ and ESC funding from the government guarantee: Register to Claim Erasmus and ESC Funding from the Government Guarantee
NEW - DEXEU published a technical update to the Withdrawal Agreement: Technical Update to the Withdrawal Agreement
DEFRA updated guidance on pet travel to Europe after Brexit. Updates - Added a line about Day 1: Pet Travel to Europe after Brexit
You can sign up to receive email alerts about Brexit on Gov.UK: Brexit E-mail Alerts
Gov.uk has an online tool to help businesses prepare for the UK leaving the EU. Businesses can use the Triage Tool to find out:
- what their business may need to do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU
- what’s changing in their sector
- information on specific rules and regulations
Businesses will need to answer 7 simple questions to get guidance relevant to their business.
Providing services to EEA and EFTA countries after EU Exit - Guidance for UK businesses on EU service provision if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.
If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 with no deal, UK businesses will no longer operate under European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for the cross-border trade of services: Providing Services to EEA and EFTA Countries after EU Exit
BEIS Sector Primers
These sector primers aim to bring together on one webpage the top 3 – 5 issues for each sector and provide guidance. The primers link through to more detailed material elsewhere on gov.uk.
A final batch have now been published with relevant sectors covered:
- Consumer Goods
- Electronics, Machinery & Parts
- Parcel Delivery Services
- Professional & Business Services
- Research & Innovation
Important Note: Due to the extended Article 50 period the BEIS Business Readiness Forum meetings will be held on a monthly basis with the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 16th May. The forum will also be available via webinar. In the meantime, BEIS will issue updates on a weekly basis where information has changed.
Association members can find details of all previous forum meetings and further information on preparations for a potential “no-deal” Brexit including links to relevant documents and sources on .Gov/ HMRC platforms, information on importing, exporting and transporting goods, trading goods covered by the “New Approach” framework (CE marking directives), trading timber products and chemicals here.
EU Exit Business Readiness Forum Slides - 11th April