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Brexit in a page - what do I need to know? | 28 May 2020

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

Weekly reflection

  • The EU have, in an open letter written by Michel Barnier, confirmed that an extension of the transition period up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by both parties and, further, that the EU has always said that they will remain open on this matter. However, the UK government has signaled again that there will be no extension to the transition period and it will end on 31 December 2020. The EU have also indicated that their approach to full access to the UK’s fishing waters may be more flexible in an attempt to break the stalemate. Any extension to the transition period must be agreed by 1 July 2020.
  • The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (“the Bill”) passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 18 May 2020. A date is awaited for the Bill to proceed to the Committee stage. The Bill will introduce a UK points based system of immigration from 1 January 2021. A salary threshold of £25,600 is anticipated. The Bill has not, however, received approval from all members of the House, with calls for more leniency in its implementation following the COVID-19 pandemic. Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow Home Secretary said “It risks the NHS not being able to fill the desperately needed roles for trained nurses and care home workers at the very moment when we rely on the NHS most”.
  • A report prepared by the C-19 Foresight Group, consisting of a cross-government team supporting local resilience forums in the England and Wales, has issued stark warnings to the UK government about local emergency response teams who are exhausted from the pandemic. The report states that a failure to seek an extension to the Brexit transition period could “…compound Covid-19 with a second UK societal-wide, economic and social, chronic threat…”. The report also states that, without an extension to the transition period, there could be an overwhelming of local disaster planning capacity.
  • A survey of over 900 business leaders undertaken by One World Express, a logistics firm, has revealed 43% have changed the geographical market for their products or services since the beginning of the pandemic. 42% of UK businesses export their products or services globally but, in view of the pandemic, 57% have reported they are considering expansion into new international markets imminently. Further, 44% of those surveyed confirm that Brexit has resulted in them exploring new export opportunities outside of the Single Market.
  • The High Court have now approved Lloyd’s of London strategy for customer notification of its Part VII transfer. The transfer has arisen due to the loss of passporting rights resulting from Brexit. Lloyd’s European business will be transferred from Lloyd’s members in London to Lloyd’s Insurance Company S.A. in Europe. Lloyd’s will begin customer notification about the Part VII transfer from the middle of June, with customers receiving a letter with further information. Lloyd’s Brussels Chief Executive, Sonja Rottiers said “This is another key step in ensuring that, despite Brexit, Lloyd’s customers across the EEA can continue to benefit from the financial security of the Lloyd’s market and their existing policies can continue to be serviced by Lloyd’s Insurance Company S.A., including the payment of valid insurance claims.” 

Key dates

May 2020 Further trade deal talks with both the EU and non-EU countries

June 2020 Final date for the UK to request an extension to the transition period

June 2020 EU Summit to assess the progress of talks

26 November 2020 End date for the trade deal to be finalised

31 December 2020 End of the transition period

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