The Institute for Government (IfG), a charity focused on government effectiveness, has issued a new report on the UK government’s preparations for EU Exit.
Conclusions broadly mirror those in the “official” report of the National Audit Office (NAO), raising concern over many areas of government and business preparation. IfG finds that:
- Government readiness for EU Exit has progressed over the last year, but some gaps remain
- The Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) cannot be implemented fully by 01 January 2021
- Some EU trade deals have not yet been rolled over, including deals with Canada and Turkey
- Business preparation has been disrupted by Coronavirus
- Trader readiness for the new arrangements is low, especially regarding outgoing traffic
Businesses have made limited progress in preparing for EU Exit since July, hampered by a combination of coronavirus and limited clarity from government. In some cases, readiness is thought to have declined over time, rather than improving.
Preparation is thought to be especially weak amongst SMEs which often lack management “bandwidth” to tackle both coronavirus and EU Exit.
IfG warns that some businesses may find themselves inadvertently breaking the law in January 2021, leaving officials with a difficult choice between assisting businesses and pursuing their duty to enforce the rules.
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