Britain sets out plans for 'no-deal' Brexit

Document details contingency planning if Britain leaves the European Union in March with no transition deal.

    UK warns that businesses face more customs red tape and consumers risk higher card payment charges [File: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP]
    UK warns that businesses face more customs red tape and consumers risk higher card payment charges [File: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP]

    The United Kingdom has published 25 so-called technical notices advising companies and people how to prepare for any disruption that might arise from a disorderly Brexit where there is no deal with the European Union.

    Below are the highlights of what happens if the UK leaves the EU with no deal:


    • The free circulation of goods between the UK and EU will cease.

    • Companies trading with Europe would face new paperwork to cover customs and safety declarations.

    • Businesses would also have to apply the same customs and excise rules to goods moving between the UK and the EU as they currently apply when trading with a country outside the EU. Value Added Tax (VAT) could also have to be paid up front, potentially affecting cash flow.


    • Britain would introduce new, baseline import tariffs and rules-of-origin requirements for trade with World Trade Organization member countries. In a no-deal Brexit, they would apply to EU countries too.

    • The tariffs could differ from those the EU applies to imports from outside the bloc.

    • The paper reiterated that the UK intended to continue offering unilateral trade preferences to developing countries and would seek to replicate the EU's free trade deals with countries around the world to avoid disruption for exporters.

    Financial services

    • Britons will have to pay more to make card payments in the European Union and businesses on the continent could be cut off from investment banks in London.
    • In contingency planning for financial services, the government said it would take unilateral action on several fronts to minimise disruption.

    State aid

    • The government will create a UK-wide subsidy control framework to ensure continuing control of anti-competitive subsidies.

    • Under the European Union (Withdrawal) act, EU state aid rules will be transposed into UK domestic legislation.

    • This will apply to all sectors and will mirror existing block exemptions as allowed under current rules, including the Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation, and the Fisheries Block Exemption Regulation.

    • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will take on the role of enforcement and supervision for the whole of the UK.


    • The UK will have its own system to regulate human drugs and medical devices.

    • Companies will have to submit regulatory information on drugs, medical devices and e-cigarettes directly to the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

    • UK will continue to accept batch testing of medicines carried out in EU countries.

    • EU blood directives will no longer apply to the UK. The government is working to ensure blood safety and quality from day one.


    • A new UK nuclear safeguards regime will come into force run by Britain's Office for Nuclear Regulation.

    • All operators in the UK civil nuclear sector will need to comply with new safeguards regime.

    • Euratom ownership of special fissile material in the UK will end, operators will have full ownership.

    What will it take for a smooth Brexit?

    Inside Story

    What will it take for a smooth Brexit?

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency


    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.