Businesses in the UK are still critically unprepared for the end of the transition period, with fewer firms conducting risk assessments and many unanswered questions remaining on what lies ahead.
According to The British Chambers of Commerce’s Brexit guidance dashboard, of 35 questions that businesses are asking on Brexit, 26 remain unanswered, including key areas such as recruitment, investment and labelling of food and drink.
The Chambers has also conducted new research into the Brexit-readiness of UK companies and found that the rate at which risk assessments were being carried out has dropped too. Last year, almost six in 10 firms had conducted a Brexit audit. This year, with the pandemic largely to blame, that number has fallen to under four in 10.
Less than half of businesses have taken the government’s recommended eight steps to get Brexit-ready for changes in the movement of goods between the UK and EU, including key operational fundamentals for trading such as customs declarations and impacts to customers and suppliers.
Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Adam Marshall, commented on the recent updates that: “With just 98 days to go, business communities face the triple threat of a resurgent Coronavirus, receding government support schemes, and a disorderly end to the transition period.
“Significant unanswered questions remain for businesses, and despite recent public information campaigns, base levels of preparedness are low. Many firms say they’ve heard talk of deadlines and cliff edges before, and others are still grappling with fundamental challenges as a result of the pandemic and have little cash or information with which to plan.”
Read more: The greatest Brexit challenge you’ve never heard about
“While we recognise that some of the questions facing businesses are subject to ongoing negotiations between the government and the EU, other matters are within the UK’s own hands. The government must ramp up engagement with business urgently – to the levels seen prior to previous ‘no deal’ deadlines – to ensure that the real-world issues facing firms get tackled immediately.
“The ‘Check, Change, Go’ campaign gives the impression that Brexit-related changes are like getting an MOT – whereas the reality is that for many businesses, they’re more akin to planning a moon landing. Businesses need honest communication about the complexity of the changes they face – and stronger encouragement to act.”
Now is the time to conduct a Brexit audit of your businesses
The good news for UK firms is that, despite there being less than 13 weeks to go until the end of the transition period, there is still time to act.
A Brexit audit can reduce the risk to businesses, help avoid skills shortages and plan for new paperwork requirements – as well as assessing your current export strategy and analysing new potential opportunities.
Whilst mitigating the damage being caused by the global pandemic rightly takes immediate priority, the Government has confirmed on numerous occasions that Brexit will not be delayed.
So, FastTrack your company’s international growth and spot the threats and opportunities that leaving the EU will deliver through our Brexit consultancy services.