Plan now for Brexit disruption after December, ministers advise

Lorries queuing
Businesses are warned of possible disruption after December 31st. Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government is warning people and businesses to prepare for ‘significant change’ and disruption when the Brexit transition period comes to an end on December 31st.

Welsh ministers are today publishing an End of Transition Action Plan, setting out what firms and individuals need to do to get ready for that date and explaining what they and the UK Government are doing to help. 

Minister for European Transition, Jeremy Miles, says the publication starts a ’50 day countdown’ reminding people that they need to act. 

The UK Government is also warning businesses that they’ll face change whether a deal is reached or not. 

EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and team in London where talks continue. Credit: PA Images

Britain left the European Union in January but agreed to follow EU rules for a year to give both sides time to forge a longer-term trade deal. 

The Prime Minister has said that a deal “is there to be done” but has repeatedly insisted that the UK is prepared to walk away and leave the single market and customs union without an agreement. Significant differences remain on fishing and competition regulation.

It’s widely understood that discussions need to be concluded within the next few weeks to allow new arrangements to be in place for December 31st when the transition period ends. 

Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for European Transition Credit: PA Images

Jeremy Miles told ITV Wales that the new Welsh Government action plan and website will give advice and support to businesses wondering what they might face and for individuals thinking about how it might affect travel in Europe.

"Well, we are concerned that businesses have been under a lot of pressure in the last few months dealing with the effects of Covid," he added.

"Many of them don't have a capacity or flexibility to also handle the end of transition so we're asking them to check out the Business Wales website for the EU transition portal to make sure their business is ready.

"If they sell overseas there'll be changes which affect their workforce. And we're giving advice about all the steps that they need to be thinking about. For individuals that the range of things about travel."

The UK Government is also advising businesses to act now to prepare.

Speaking to a virtual meeting of CBI Wales this week the Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: “Businesses are currently operating in extremely challenging circumstances because of the pandemic and UK Government has a number of schemes available including loans, grants and tax deferrals – as well as furlough – to support them and their workers through this difficult period.

“But I also urge businesses to look ahead to the changes required to prepare for the end of the transition period which we know is approaching fast. If we are prepared for all scenarios, then together we can seize new opportunities and recover from the pandemic.”