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Information on a no-deal scenario

This page brings together a collection of information and guidance on a no-deal scenario from external sources, including published material from the UK Government, EU and other organisations.

Looking for the ICAEW view on Brexit? Find the latest updates and expert analysis at the ICAEW Brexit hub.


If you are looking to sign up for the ICAEW series of webinars on how Brexit could affect your business, please visit our Brexit webinars page.

Brexit Business Readiness events

The UK Government has announced a series of free Brexit Business Readiness events to take place across the country, starting on 16 September 2019. The free events will combine a keynote address from senior government officials, advice stands and in-depth sessions to give businesses the information they need to get ready for Brexit.

Information on the dates and locations of the events can be found at Brexit Business Readiness Events website.

Events from UK Government departments

Departments across government are holding events to help businesses get ready for Brexit. The UK Government website provides an overview of the face-to-face events, webinars and workshops taking place around the country.

International updates and events

In the past few months the UK Government released a series of updates containing information for citizens in different EU countries with a focus on any practical steps that individuals need to take with national authorities ahead of Brexit. These can be accessed through the list of the latest news releases.

UK Government

The UK Government Brexit portal highlights their 'Get ready for Brexit' campaign and an online questionnaire that can help you or your business check what you need to do to prepare. It also contains the latest information about Brexit, including policy changes, guidance and updates on measures for a no-deal Brexit.

The Government published its No-Deal Brexit readiness report on 8 October 2019, detailing the UK's preparedness. It includes sections on the preparations for the services sector and industry.

Sector updates

The UK Government has also announced a series of measures and practical steps that need to be taken in different industrial sectors. The list of news releases has highlighted sector-specific measures and guidance such as the UK Fisheries Administrations (UKFAs) advice for fishermen on registration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Financial Reporting Council (FRC)

The FRC wrote to Audit Committee Chairs and Finance Directors setting out five critical actions that companies should consider in advance of the UK’s exit. A copy of the letter was published on the FRC website on 16 September 2019.

On 21 February 2019 the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued letters to the accounting and audit sectors on how they would be affected if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. Each document includes answer to some frequently asked questions.

  • BEIS/FRC Letter on accounting if there’s no Brexit deal
    21 February 2019
    The letter to the accounting sector states that whilst the UK’s corporate reporting regime will remain largely unchanged after the UK exits the European Union, some companies will need to make changes to ensure they remain fully compliant with the relevant accounting and reporting requirements. Areas that UK and EEA incorporated companies and groups should focus on are highlighted.
  • BEIS/FRC Letter on auditing if there’s no Brexit deal
    21 February 2019
    The letter to audit sector sets out key actions in relation to the future of audit regulation that auditors and audit firms need to take to get ready for the UK leaving the EU in a no deal scenario. It is also recommended that clients of auditors and firms also pay close attention to the content of the letter and corresponding FAQs.

UK Government Technical Notices

The UK Government has published a series of technical notices which set out 'information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a ‘no deal’ scenario, so they can make informed plans and preparations.' More technical notices are expected. 

The Technical Notices are available from How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal along with an overview that puts the government’s technical notices in context. The papers cover topics such as applications for EU-funded programmes; banking; business regulations; insurance and financial services; energy regulation; environmental protection; farming; importing and exporting; intellectual property; personal data; tax; travel between the UK and EU; workplace rights.

The House of Commons library has also compiled a briefing titled 'What if there's no Brexit deal?' which summarises the current position with reference to the UK Governmant Technical notices and other papers previously released by government.

Partnership Pack

The UK Government has published a Partnership Pack which offers Support to help businesses prepare for changes at the UK border after a ‘no deal’ EU exit  including step-by-step guides to exporting and importing in the event of a 'no deal' scenario.

The partnership pack is intended to help with contingency planning and to help customers, members and clients think about how they will need to adapt their business to comply with the new systems, processes and controls that will be introduced, as well as to assess their impact.

The information in the full document is extensive, running to over 100 pages. The material covers topics of broad interest (e.g. guidance for businesses supplying services to the EU) and more specialist topics for niche sectors (e.g. trading in rough diamonds). A guide has been provided to help you find what you need in the pack.

On 4 February 2019 HMRC announced that they would be introducing Transitional Simplified Procedures for customs, should the UK leave the EU without a deal. A fourth edition of the Partnership Pack was published on 6 February 2019 incorporating these changes.

Support from HMRC

On 21 August 2019 it was announced that HMRC is automatically enrolling companies in the Economic Operator Registration and Identification system and issuing EORI numbers as part of their efforts to ensure that businesses are ready to trade after Brexit. HMRC is also sending out letters to VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU which sets out how they should prepare for changes to customs, excise and VAT if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

On 15 October 2019 HMRC announced that they have automatically registered 95,000 businesses for simplified import procedures (usually referred to as Transitional Simplified Procedures or TSP). The TSP arrangements become active if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019.

An extensive collection of material is available from HMRC focusing on the practical steps that businesses will need to take in the event of a 'no deal' scenario. This ranges from guidance affecting all businesses to guidance for niche sectors.

HMRC published an update to the UK’s temporary tariff regime on 8 October 2019, in readiness  for the scenario of  the UK leaving the EU without a deal. At the same time it was announced that an exceptional review process would come into force on exit day, with the power to make further changes to the temporary tariff regime if necessary.

Department for International Trade

The Department for International Trade has published a series of country-by-country exporting guidebooks which provide information on exporting goods and services from the UK if we leave the EU with no deal.



On 3 September 2019 HMRC announced that it would be providing funding to help businesses train staff in making customs declarations, and to help businesses who support others to trade goods to invest in IT. This was followed in October 2019 by the announcement of additional funding to help customs agents recruit more staff to manage customs declarations before and after Brexit.

Horizon 2020

The UK government has provided clarification for UK Horizon 2020 participants and projects and guidance on Horizon 2020 funding if there’s no Brexit deal.

In the event of a no deal scenario the UK Government has guaranteed to underwrite UK Horizon 2020 funds. In order to underwrite these payments current UK recipients of Horizon 2020 funding are encouraged to register their projects on a portal managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The portal is designed to ensure that UKRI has the information about projects and participants in order to underwrite guarantee payments if required.

Trade deals

The UK Government has published an update on existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and a list of signed UK trade agreements transitioned from the EU.

The guidance on Existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal highlights the status of those agreements that may not be in place by exit day. Without arrangements to maintain preferences, trade will take place on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.

In the guidance the UK government highlights how trading under World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms may affect businesses and the steps that need to be taken to prepare for this.

European Commission

The European Commission issued the press release Brexit preparedness: EU completes preparations for possible “no-deal” scenario on 12 April on 25 March 2019. The press release summarises the "no-deal" contingency measures taken by the European Commission with a set of useful links for EU businesses and citizens.

A series of Brexit factsheets are also available, covering topics such as Travelling between the UK and the EU in the event of "no deal".

European Commission no-deal Contingency Action Plan

The European Commission announced the implementation of their "no-deal" Contingency Action Plan on 19 December 2018.

The 12 page implementation plan ('Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: Implementing the Commission’s Contingency Action Plan') sets out the contingency measures adopted by the European Commission. Sector-specific regulation measures outlined cover financial services; air transport; road haulage; climate policy; customs and the export of goods.

A 17 page document with questions and answers was released to accompany the plan. The document covers questions such as:

  • Will trucks be able to continue carrying goods between the UK and the EU if the UK leaves in case of no deal? Is there a restriction in numbers?
  • What exactly is the Commission proposing in the area of financial services?
  • In case of no deal, will goods coming from the UK to the EU/EU to the UK be considered as imports/exports as of 30 March 2019?
  • What rules will apply to EU-UK trade in terms of VAT in case of no deal?

The European Commission have also published a guide on How to prepare for Brexit: Customs guide for businesses to help businesses in the EU start preparing for the UK’s withdrawal, if they have not yet done so. The guide includes a Brexit checklist for traders.

EU preparedness notices and legislation

The European Commission has issued a series of Preparedness notices which are intended to help individuals and businesses plan for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union in a wide range of policy areas.

The European Commission has also published a central listing of Legislative initiatives and other legal acts which are targeted at remedying 'the negative impact of a disorderly withdrawal or at enabling the necessary adaptation of the legislation'.

Information from European governments

A comprehensive collection of links to National Brexit information in Member States has been provided through the European Commission website.


France has published information on the procedures that are being put in place at the French border in preparation for a no-deal Brexit, as reported by the Institute of Export & International Trade at 'A smart border for smart drivers' in France - Brexit update

The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre publishes a regular Brexit Update which provides information on political developments, no-deal preparations and recent Brexit publications.

The Scottish Government published a 57 page briefing 'Preparing for a no-deal Brexit' on 2 September 2019 which outlines some potential immediate impacts of a no-deal Brexit along with details of Scottish contingency planning to mitigate any disruptions that may occur after EU exit.

The Welsh Government

The Welsh Government published a 35 page 'No deal action plan' on 16 September 2019 which details the actions taken by the Welsh Government to reduce the impact of a no-deal Brexit as far as possible.

Credit rating agencies

The credit ratings agencies have published briefings on the potential rating pressure resulting from a no-deal Brexit which have been made available through their dedicated Brexit portals at Countdown to Brexit (S&P Global Ratings) and Credit Hotspot: Brexit (Fitch ratings).

* Some of the content on this web page was provided by the Chartered Accountants’ Trust for Education and Research, a registered charity, which owns the library and operates it for ICAEW.