By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) – The U.K. government has published a series of documents advising businesses and citizens on what to do should the U.K. exit the EU without a deal.
The collection of documents, titled “How to prepare if the U.K. leaves the EU with no deal” and published by the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) on Thursday, covers a variety of sectors, including nuclear research, farming, pharmaceuticals, finance as well as the importing and exporting of goods between the U.K. and the EU.
“It has always been the case that as we get nearer to March 2019, preparations for a ‘no deal’ scenario would have to be accelerated. Such an acceleration does not reflect an increased likelihood of a ‘no deal’ outcome. Rather it is about ensuring our plans are in place in the unlikely scenario that they need to be relied upon,” the notice read.
The government however set out to reassure industries and businesses that “a scenario in which the U.K. leaves the EU without agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario) remains unlikely” and that because London and Brussels have a common interest in securing an agreement, businesses have no need to worry.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, speaking on the Today Programme, had also set out to deliver what he called “practical and proportionate” advice in the event that the U.K. crashes out of the EU.
Raab said that reaching a deal with the EU was “by far the most likely outcome” and that it was the “overriding priority”. “We must be ready to consider the alternative,” he added however.
The 25 documents published Thursday warn that in a ‘no-deal’ scenario, there would be a likely increase in the cost of EK/EU card payments.
In addition, businesses trading with the EU should start planning for new customs checks and face charges for new software and logistical help. Moreover, U.K. citizens living in the EU could lose access to U.K. banking and pensions services.
A total of 80 documents are expected to be published in the next month that will cover the National Health Service, food and medicinal supplies, the issue of Britons living in the EU and the future trade relationship with the EU.
The European Commission has already published its own set of assessments regarding a ‘no-deal’ scenario and, on its website, has said that there would be “no specific arrangement” for EU citizens living in the U.K. and vice versa, warning of “significant delays” at borders.
Also speaking on the Today Programme, Keir Starmer, the Labour shadow Brexit secretary, said that a “no-deal Brexit has never been viable and would represent a complete failure of the government's negotiating strategy”.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there has been a decline in the numbers of EU migrants coming to the U.K., from 189,000 in June 2016 to 87,000 in March 2018.