Brexit Bulletin, 7 January 2019

Jan 07, 2019

There are just over 80 days to go until 29 March 2019 – the day the UK is due to leave the EU. More than 200 members of the UK parliament have written a letter to Theresa May urging her to rule out a no deal Brexit.  Ahead of the UK’s vote on the withdrawal bill on 15 January, no deal planning has been ramped up by the UK and Ireland as the European Commission tells Member States to get their borders ready for a no-deal Brexit.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is advising businesses to make contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit. 

Rule out a no deal

While Tuesday 15 January has been reportedly set as the day the UK parliament votes on the withdrawal agreement, more than 200 members of the UK parliament have written a letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to rule out a no deal Brexit.   The MP’s, both leavers and remainers have been invited to talk to the Prime Minister tomorrow.  Additionally a cross-party group is trying to block any spending on Brexit contingency plans without the consent of the House of Commons.

These developments comes as major exercise got underway this morning in Kent when almost 100 lorries set off to the Port of Dover to test out how to manage traffic queues in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

The UK’s guidance for a no-deal

The UK government has been issuing technical notes throughout the course of the past few weeks on several different issues that will affect businesses and citizens if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  All guidance can be found on gov.uk. The Partnership Pack gives high level guidance on how to prepare for changes at the UK border in the event of a no deal and contains very important information on making customs declarations. 

European Commission warns Member States to get their borders ready

The Commission has released no-deal notices warning all Member States to get their borders ready to implement customs checks on goods coming from the UK from 29 March 2019.  For Ireland, in reality this means a return to a hard border on the island. 

No deal planning on the Irish government agenda

Contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit dominated the first cabinet meeting of 2019 which took place on Friday.  The government’s plans for a no-deal Brexit were published just before Christmas but Friday was the first time they were discussed in detail in the cabinet.  Described as “stark” and “sobering” by Tanáiste Simon Coveney, the paper covers 19 sectors where action will be need to be taken if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  

600 additional customs officials will need to be hired and it’s thought that 45 pieces of legislation will be needed if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  These discussions come amid reports that Ireland will ask the EU for “hundreds of millions” in grant aid to cope with challenging trading conditions Ireland will face if there is a no-deal Brexit, particularly in the agri-food and fishing sectors.

Institute writes to Revenue

Chartered Accountants Ireland wrote to the Revenue in December about matters relating to trade and customs that our members are very concerned about in the event of a no deal Brexit.  Issues such as IT capacity, sufficient customs personnel, the application process for Authorised economic operator status as well as the VAT cost of imports were highlighted.  You can read a copy of the letter on our website.  

No further negotiations planned

Meanwhile the EU has said that "no further meetings are foreseen" with the UK on the withdrawal bill ahead of the UK parliament’s vote which will take place on Tuesday 15 January.

Key Brexit dates ahead

As we begin 2019, we remind readers of some important dates ahead:

  • This week- 7 January 2019 – The UK Parliament will debate the withdrawal agreement
  • Tuesday 15 January 2019 – The UK Parliament will vote on the withdrawal agreement
  • 21 January 2019 –  Last date that the UK government can present the deal to the UK Parliament if the vote does not go ahead
  • 21-22 March 2019 – next European Council Summit
  • 29 March 2019 – Brexit day

Revenue regional Brexit seminars - book your place

Revenue will host the following seminars in January to help address the potential customs implications of Brexit and how these challenges can be addressed.  Book by clicking the links below.

If you have a specific topic you wish covered, you can email brexitqueries@revenue.ie outlining the details. 

More seminars will be added subject to demand and the Brexit dedicated page on the Revenue website will be updated with further information as it becomes available.

Institute’s Brexit guidance

As the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looms, members are reminded that the Institute has published a series of Back to Brexit Basics which will help you understand Brexit and its possible implications for you and your business.  The free customs guide Taking the Lead: Chartered Accountants and Brexit prepared by the Institute and ICAEW will also help business in the UK and Ireland get a grasp of customs obligations post Brexit. 

Read all of our Brexit updates on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.