Brexit alert level 4

To borrow the government’s Coronavirus alert system, this week the UK appears to have moved to Brexit alert level 4. The Coronavirus-caused lockdown has seen the postponement of many 2020 events far and wide. For example, English local and mayoral elections, the London Marathon, the Olympic games in Tokyo, concerts, festivals and movie releases. But not Brexit. The final deadline has now passed for the UK to extend the transition period which means full Brexit looks set to go ahead on 31 December 2020, with or without a trade deal.

At the same time as 10,000 job cuts were announced due to fallout from the lockdown, the UK government carried on with passing measures to curtail the rights of EU workers to come to the UK (and for UK workers to seek work in the EU). Don’t forget that the EU is the UK’s largest trade partner, bigger than the next 10 trade partners combined. And yet recent trade negotiations finished early, with EU negotiator Michel Barnier commenting on the lack of progress.

Of course, it’s typical of a lawyer to look at the worst case scenario. But isn’t it sensible to plan for the best and prepare for the worst? If the UK gets a great trade deal then all is good. But if no deal turns out to be worse than Prime Minister, Boris Johnson believes, you’ll be glad you sorted your staff, products, data flows and contracts in advance. Read my previous article for what steps you should take. If you have any questions, contact me: 020 7467 8742 or frank.jennings@wallace.co.uk.

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