Six months to go and business demands 'clarity' from government

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Business leaders have warned that papers outlining government planning for a no-deal Brexit must provide "clarity" so they can continue to trade freely if Britain crashes out of the EU.

Tomorrow will see the publication of the first in a series of "technical notices" setting out what businesses and citizens need to do in the event the UK leaves the EU in March without a transition deal.

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is due to give a speech tomorrow to coincide with the release of the first of a raft of papers on more than 80 subjects.

Dr Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said clear guidance for firms was long overdue with just six months to go until Brexit.

He warned that they would speak out if the information the notices contained was "unclear or unhelpful to business decision-making".

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He said: "No-deal preparations should have happened far earlier, and the onus is on government to move quickly and give businesses as much detailed technical information as possible to avoid significant disruption in any scenario.

"Our test for the government's 'no deal' notices is straightforward. Do firms now have the clarity they need so that they can continue to conduct business both here at home and across borders on March 30, 2019?

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"Companies need to know how the UK government will handle customs and VAT procedures at the border on day one after Brexit.

"Companies need to know what the immigration rules will be on day one, both to reassure existing staff and to recruit successfully.

"Firms need to know what they need to do to ensure that their contracts are valid, their transactions processed, and their rights protected."

Under current plans, the reports will be published in batches, starting tomorrow and running through September.

The government has not confirmed the subjects they cover but reports suggest they include subjects including aviation safety, civilian nuclear power, medical drugs, the rights of British citizens living in the EU, road haulage and fishing rights.

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