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Brexit in a page - what do I need to know? | 29 October 2020

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

Weekly reflection

  • Whilst negotiations are continuing, albeit slowly, the Association of Freight Software Suppliers (“AFSS”) have warned that there is insufficient time for their members to build and test new software prior to the end of the transition period. The AFSS’s members develop software programs that facilitate businesses’ integration with the government’s customs systems. They allege that the government has not provided the relevant information required for the programming to be progressed. The AFSS have warned of the resulting risks to the interruption of goods between the UK and EU flowing smoothly in the event of a trade deal not being reached.
  • Meanwhile, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, has called for more urgency in the trade deal negotiations in order to provide some stability for UK businesses. Warning that businesses were unprepared for a hard Brexit, Carolyn Fairbairn believes that the remaining issues are capable of resolution between the UK and EU and that “a deal is enormously better than no deal”. Focusing on the automotive sector, calls were made for a tariff free trading relationship which Carolyn Fairbairn said would be the difference between companies staying in the UK or going.
  • HM Treasury has published, on 19 October, a consultation paper triggering the second phase of its review of financial services regulation beyond Brexit. The Future Regulatory Framework consultation seeks views on the proposal to achieve an agile and coherent approach to financial services regulation in the UK going forward to ensure the UK is a stable, innovative and world leading financial services sector. The consultation will remain open for three months and submissions are required before 19 January 2021.
  • The Internal Markets Bill is facing choppy waters following a vote in the House of Lords on 20 October 2020. A further vote is scheduled for 9 November 2020 in the Lords when it is expected that the six clauses, which would facilitate the UK’s breach of the withdrawal treaty, will be struck down. Angela Smith, Labour’s leader in the Lords said “I would urge Downing Street to seek to resolve the issue. The wise approach would be for them to remove the offending clauses, so peers can focus on scrutinizing and improving the rest of the bill”.
  • This week has also seen concerns raised about the uninterrupted flow of prescription drugs to Northern Ireland following the end of the transition period. Lord Teverson, Chair of the House of Lords EU Environment sub-committee has written to Health Minister Edwards Argar seeking reassurances that Northern Ireland will have sufficient drugs for its residents. Specifically, Lord Teverson believes that there is a lack of information being given to pharmaceutical companies to enable them to prepare for the transportation of medicines. Lord Teverson’s letter specifically asks “What steps is the Government taking to ensure the consistent, affordable supply of a full range of genuine prescription medicines in NI in the medium term, after any immediate adjustment period at the end of transition”.

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Key dates

29 October 2020
Trade deal talks to continue in Brussels

9 November 2020
Vote in the House of Lords on the Internal Markets Bill

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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