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Brexit in a page - what do I need to know? | 15 October 2020

Brexit expert Jacqui Bickerton summarises all you need to know about Brexit.

Weekly reflection

  • Another missed deadline is the headline news today. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and also the EU both confirmed many months ago that today was the deadline for a trade deal to be reached between the parties. Today’s date is crucial as any deal could then be considered at the EU Summit taking place for two days from today. The UK will not have a seat around the table at this Summit but the Prime Minister has confirmed he will be listening to the debates and then will make a decision whether to take the UK forward without a trade deal with the EU.
  • It has been announced this week that secondary legislation will facilitate the consideration by the Home Office of late applications for settled status beyond 30 June 2021. The change to the scheme is designed to capture those applications from vulnerable EU citizens lawfully living in the UK who may not be able to apply prior to the deadline in 2021, such as children in care homes. Late applicants will need to show they had a ‘reasonable excuse’ for not applying in time but the Home Office will take a generous approach as to what ‘reasonable grounds’ are on a case by case basis.
  • Meanwhile, following fears of delays at ports following the end of the transition deal, four ferry firms have been awarded government contracts to ensure the smooth supply of medical supplies to the UK. Stena Line, P&O Ferries, DFDS and Brittany Ferries are all tasked, for a period of six months following the end of the transition period, to ensure the smooth flow of freight to the UK. The government contracts are said to be worth a total of £77.6 million.
  • The governor of the Banque de France has reported that at least €150 billion of assets from London have been moved to France. The Banque reports the authorization of 21 investments, four credit institutions and seven third-country branches since September 2020. Mr. de Galhau, the governor of the Banque said “Even if there is a trade deal, which I still wish and hope, Britain will have left the single market and things will change anyway significantly for financial services. It means that firms operating more than £7,500 jobs had been uprooted to the Continent since the Brexit referendum, with at least 24 financial services firms publicly recording more than £1.2 trillion of asset transfers”.
  • And, as though the COVID-19 pandemic has not wreaked sufficient havoc on the travel industry, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps has today told the virtual convention of ABTA that flights over the UK and EU airspace may grind to a halt after the end of the transition period. Mr. Shapps stated that he was waiting for contingency measures to be suggested by the EU to rectify the lacuna. Currently, flights can take place between the UK and EU by virtue of the “open-skies” agreement within Europe. The UK’s membership of the agreement will end on 31 December 2020. Mr. Shapps said “We hope it will be possible to agree some sensible additional flexibilities. Despite public statements from Brussels we are not seeking to replicate our current single-market rights. We expect the EU to bring forward contingency measures, as they’ve done before, to ensure flights will continue if negotiations are unsuccessful. Of course we would look to reciprocate that".

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Key dates

17 October 2020
Prime Minister expected to confirm whether the UK will walk away from the trade negotiations

31 October 2020
Full legal text of any trade agreement expected (assuming an agreement is reached)

23 November 2020
EU Parliament to consider and vote on any EU/UK trade agreement (assuming an agreement is reached)

31 December 2020
End of the transition period

To discuss any concerns about how Brexit may impact your business, please contact Jacqui Bickerton, Principal Associate or visit our Brexit Hub to find out more. 

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