Brexit Bulletin, 6 September 2019

Sep 06, 2019

This week, read about the latest Brexit developments in the UK as the House of Commons passes a law to block a no-deal Brexit. Also on the Brexit front, read about the measures taken by the European Commission, Ireland and the UK in an effoort to ramp up no-deal preparations.

Opposition takes back control as UK House of Commons passes no-deal law

Following the UK Parliament’s eventful return to session on Tuesday, the House of Commons has successfully pushed through a historic vote, which has effectively taken a no-deal Brexit off the table. The opposition and backbench Members of Parliament have seized control of the Commons to pass emergency laws preventing the UK from leaving the EU without a deal. The legislation has now passed on to the House of Lords. It will then return to the House of Commons, and following royal assent, will immediately place a legal duty on the Prime Minister to delay Brexit until 31 January 2020, if a Brexit deal has not been agreed by 31 October. Additionally, the Prime Minister’s plans for a snap general election in October have also been rejected by an overwhelming two-thirds majority in the House of Commons,

On the Irish side, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is still set to meet The UK Prime Minister in Dublin next week (Monday 9 September) to continue discussions on Brexit and Nothern Ireland.

“Use disaster funds to mitigate Brexit impact”, proposes European Commission

The European Commission have released their latest Brexit preparedness communication –stressing upon its call to all EU27 countries to prepare for a possible no-deal Brexit. They have also issued a detailed “Brexit Preparedness Checklist” as guidance for companies trading in the EU. They have also proposed using the EU Solidarity Fund, emergency funds normally reserved for natural disasters, in order to help countries most adversely affected by a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking on the impact on Northern Ireland, the Commission has said that; even in the event of no-deal a special funding stream to support the Northern Ireland peace process known as the PEACE II fund will also be provided. 

Planning for no-deal Brexit top priority, says Irish Government

As preparations to mitigate the increasing risks of a no-deal Brexit in Ireland have been made a top priority by Cabinet earlier this week, the Irish Government has released a user-friendly digital guide further expanding on the nine practical steps businesses of all sizes must take now to prepare for Brexit. Read the full guide here.

HMRC announces additional £16 million funding to boost customs expertise

The UK government have announced additional funding to support businesses with the costs of making customs declarations. Businesses based in, or with a branch in, the UK can apply for funding ahead of the UK leaving the EU. Grants can be used to support:

  • training costs for businesses who complete customs declarations, or who intend to in the future
  • funding for IT improvement, which is available to small and medium sized employers who are currently involved in trade as an intermediary

Applications can be made online, with the grant being offered within 30 days of applying. 

Brexit preparedness resources

Clear Customs – Essential customs training

The Irish government have launched the Clear Customs initiative to help businesses and intermediaries develop the capacity to complete customs administration post-Brexit.

As a part of the initiative led by Skillnet, businesses have been offered two main supports:

  • An essential customs training programme delivered nationwide over six weeks providing skills necessary to make customs declarations
  • Customs Financial Support payment to assist with the costs of hiring or assigning new staff to customs roles. The payment can be up to €6,000 per employee that completes the training programme – up to a maximum of 10 employees.

Expressions of interest for the customs training programme and Customs Financial Support payment must be made via the Skillnet Ireland website before 20 September 2019.

Readers should note to meet the following eligibility criteria that businesses will need:

  • an EORI number from Revenue. Read our guidance on how to apply for an EORI number;
  • a CRO number;
  • to be registered with the Company Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application;
  • to provide freight, haulage, logistics services to, from or through the UK, or;
    • Are providing customs intermediary services; and
  • are currently directly engaged in the import/ export, or are facilitating the import/export, of goods to, from or through the UK and which will require new or increased customs clearance capacity.

Customs workshops

Local Enterprise Offices are running customs workshops throughout the country from August to October to provide businesses with a better understanding of the potential impacts and customs procedures to be adopted when trading with a country outside of the EU.  These courses are open to all businesses. You can read the course outline here. To see locations, dates and how to book, go to this link.

Irish Government Brexit Supports

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have released several Brexit preparedness supports, including the Brexit preparedness checklist, the Brexit Loan Scheme and the Getting Business Brexit Ready guide. For the full range of supports for businesses, visit the Department’s website.

Read all our updates in our Brexit web centre and our page dedicated to no-deal Brexit planning.