Beyond Brexit - Time to Act

With little time remaining until the UK leaves the EU, how should you prepare for Brexit, and what opportunities are there for your business?


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Beyond Brexit podcast series
The latest Brexit developments and what they mean for you
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Beyond Brexit timeline


  • 14 November 2018, draft deal between the UK and EU agreed and presented to the UK Cabinet.
  • 25 November 2018, deal agreed by EU leaders at EU Summit 
  • Second phase of EU Settled Status Scheme launched

25 November - end of 2018

  • Meaningful vote in UK parliament on the proposed deal expected in week commencing 10 December
  • If the 'meaningful vote' in the UK Parliament is not successful the Government will have 21 days to respond. The Minister must make a statement explaining how the Government will proceed and make arrangements for a statement for the Commons to consider.
  • EU Summit 13-14 December
  • UK Parliament recesses for winter break 20 December

Download the full timeline

  • 3 months until UK leaves the EU
  • EU Summit [13-14] December 2018: Scheduled leaders' meeting. If events alter the hoped for deal at a November summit, this scheduled summit would continue to be relevant to the Brexit process.

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In the event no deal is agreed by 21 Jan 2019:

  • If the Prime Minister announces that 'no deal' can be reached the Government has 14 days to respond. A Minister must present to the House, explaining how the Government will proceed and make arrangements for a statement for the Commons to consider: This deadline was included in the EU Withdrawal Act, section 13.7
  • If no agreement and no announcement from the Prime Minister of either a deal or that no deal can be reached the Government have 5 days to respond. A Minister must present to the House explaining how the Government will proceed, and make arrangements for a motion in the Commons, followed by the Lords: This deadline was included in the EU Withdrawal Act, section 13.10

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  • 23:00 29 March 2019 - UK leaves the EU
  • 23:01 29 March 2019 if a deal agreed then transition period begins
  • Free Trade Agreement negotiations with non-EU countries can begin

March 2019 - Dec 2020

  • The 'extra time' of a transition period used to negotiate and agree details of future trading relationship of the UK and the EU

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Andrew Gray, Head of Brexit at PwC 

“With just over 100 days to go before the end of March 2019, further delays in holding the meaningful vote will be of great concern, however, businesses need to hold their nerve. The delay means businesses need to be even more proactive and diligent in their Brexit planning. There are still a number of hurdles to jump before any outcome is certain.
We are still advising organisations to keep preparing for both a deal and no deal and continue to implement their contingency plans.  For many businesses this may mean taking further action which they had hoped to avoid."

Assess your current level of readiness with our Brexit checklist

Trade and customs

What will trade between the UK and the rest of the world look like and what impact will this have on cost, admin and time?

Understanding the as-is

  • Do you know what proportion of your sales and purchases are with counterparties in the EU and what product/service categories they are covered under?
  • How well do you understand how your goods are to be classified under tariff commodity code classifications and are your current classifications robust?
  • Are you trading with suppliers or customers in countries who currently have a trade agreement with the EU?
  • How reliant are you on third country agreements for access to key markets? How well do you understand the impact of meeting rules of origin requirements for these agreements for your products?

Movement of goods and services

  • How advanced are your IT systems to allow you to meet new data requirements for selling to the EU and third countries, how easily can you prove rules of origin for your products (made in the UK)?
  • How much would increases in duty between the UK and EU cost you under the different Brexit negotiation outcomes?
  • Are you shipping in bulk into/from the EU or are average consignment sizes small? What would be the additional customs administration costs?
  • To what extent is your EU-UK trade time sensitive? What would be the cost of additional border delays in time, working capital and operational difficulties?
  • Are you currently taking advantage of the full range of facilitated customs programmes available such as Authorised Economic Operator and inward processing relief schemes?
  • ‘Do you know whether your products will be classed as UK products (rules of origin requirements) in order to benefit from tariff reductions in a future trade deal with the EU?
  • What would be the cash fl ow impact of the loss of VAT relief?
  • Are you required to have products tested or certified against EU standards to allow your goods to enter the EU market?
  • Do you require movement of personal data between the UK / EU to provide your products or services, and need to comply with GDPR?

Supplier /supply chain risk

  • Have you engaged your key suppliers to understand how they, and their supply chains, are impacted?
  • Have you considered supply chain contingency options, for example UK or non-EU suppliers? Under what scenarios do alternative suppliers become more attractive?
  • What specialist logistics and warehousing arrangements would you need to have in place?

Find out more by visiting our Trade & Investment Hive


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People and immigration

What impact will changes to immigration have on the workforce and operating model? What can you do to prepare?

Workforce composition

  • Do you know how many EU and non-EU personnel you employ directly? Do you know who they are?
  • How reliant are you and your supply chain on labour from the EU?
  • Do you know where in your organisation these personnel sit and which parts of your organisation could be most at risk from Brexit related personnel uncertainties?

Workforce planning

  • Do you know what proportion of your business critical skills, capabilities or positions reside in EU vs. non-EU personnel?
  • Have you conducted scenario planning to understand the risks and impact on your business critical functions due to uncertainty in these personnel?
  • Do you subsequently have short and long-term workforce planning contingencies to prevent disruption to your business critical operations?
  • Do you have short and long-term workforce planning strategies to more broadly address the impact of Brexit on all parts of your organisation?
  • How dependent are you on the local demographic for your key locations? Have you considered how this may change?
  • Do you have a location strategy should your geographical footprint need to change to better accommodate supply and demand of talent and/or local regulations?

Mobility & visas

  • How mobile is your workforce currently within the EU? For how many will mobility be impacted?
  • How dependent are you on the local demographic for your key locations? Have you considered how this may change?
  • How are you supporting your existing employees to secure their status in their current country of residence?
  • Do you have a communications plan? Do you have the means to communicate to your non-UK workforce?

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Strategy and business plan

How will Brexit affect the UK economy and market demand? Are the assumptions in the strategy & business plan still fit for purpose?


  • What is the total impact on your cost position and market competitiveness from weaker sterling?
  • What plans have you got in place to manage volatility in the value of sterling?

Market risk & opportunity

  • What might be the impact on demand in your industry (sub-)sector under each economic scenarios?
  • How rapidly would you be able to adjust to a slowdown and how are you monitoring the market to provide early warning?
  • How will the social & political changes that drove Brexit impact your markets and your position within them?
  • What new product/market opportunities does Brexit open up for you?
  • Will Brexit hit your competitors harder than you? What will happen to your relative cost/differentiation advantage?

Reputation & branding

  • Are your overseas customer relationships strong enough to withstand anti-UK sentiment and/or industrial protectionism?
  • What overseas stakeholders are you dependent on? Do they understand Brexit and the issues it creates? How are you engaging with them to manage their understanding?
  • What sources of regulation are significant for your business at present?
  • What are the risks of regulatory change arising from the EU negotiations or new UK legislation?
  • How are you monitoring these processes or engaging in appropriate advocacy with both Government and Regulating bodies?
  • Are you engaging with the Government on export opportunities, export support (DIT) and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)?
  • Do you receive R&D funding from the EU or from organisations based in the EU? (e.g. Horizon 2020)

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Governance and mobilisation

How are you setting up your Brexit response? How are you tracking developments and are you able to act if needed?


  • Who is responsible for Brexit impact and mitigation planning?
  • Do they have sufficient personal authority to be able to effect change if needed?
  • How are they engaging senior personnel from key functions across the business?
  • Has the board and non-exec directors been briefed on and understand the plans in place to manage the risks and opportunities presented by Brexit?

Tracking & acting

  • Do you understand the range of possible outcomes from the Brexit negotiations? Have you developed and maintained a set of meaningful scenarios with which to baseline the impact on your business?
  • Do you have a Brexit contingency plan that addresses Brexit-related risks under each outcome scenario?
  • Does your contingency plan meet the guidance set by your industry regulator (if available)?
  • What are the key decisions that will need to be made under each outcome scenario? When do these decisions have to be made by? How will they be made?
  • How are you tracking and interpreting external events?

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Brexit themes

These are the key themes our clients have told us they are most interested in with regards to the upcoming negotiations for Brexit:

People and immigration

What impact will changes to immigration in the light of Brexit have on your workforce and operating model and how can you prepare?

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Trade and customs

What does trade between the UK and the rest of the world look like following Brexit and what implications will this have on your business?

Find out more

Economics and policy

How will Brexit affect the UK economy and the value of the GBP? How might changes to regulation impact your ability to do business across borders?

Find out more

If you have a question on any Brexit related issues, please submit it here:

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