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Brexit contingency plans must be robust

With the clock ticking towards 29 March, businesses are now being urged to consider their own contingency plans, whether they are sufficiently robust and what further actions might be necessary.


February 2019

The Bank of England recently stated that large parts of the economy are not adequately prepared for ‘no deal’, and has cut its UK growth forecast, warning that a lack of Brexit clarity is hitting the economy.

According to business groups, British businesses have been ‘watching in horror’ at the lack of progress, warning that hundreds of thousands of businesses have not begun contingency planning while emphasising that those that have plans are using up significant resources in doing so.

Information is available online relating to trading with the EU; customs, VAT and excise; data protection; guarantees for EU-funded programmes; and banking, insurance and other financial services.

ICAEW has published a guide to help members navigate this material.

HMRC has written to businesses that trade with the EU, instructing them of what they would need to do to prepare for ‘no deal’. Other UK government departments are also accelerating such preparations, and further instructions to businesses can be expected in the coming days and weeks.

Separately, the European Commission issued an additional ‘no deal’ contingency plan, outlining a number of unilateral and temporary measures that will be taken in a limited number of areas – including financial services, air transport, customs and climate policy – while also calling on EU member states to accelerate their work to prepare for all Brexit scenarios.

ICAEW’s Brexit hub contains a wide array of information and guidance to help members assess the implications of Brexit, and prepare businesses and clients for a number of scenarios.

ICAEW is also aware of concerns that non-Irish resident accountancy firms currently on the Irish audit register are unlikely to retain automatic audit rights in Ireland in the event of ‘no deal’. It has provided firms that carry out audits of Irish entities with an action framework to help no deal-scenario planning, in respect of those audits where the opinion is issued after 29 March.

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