The Government’s contingency planning for Brexit was initiated well in advance of the UK referendum in June 2016. As Minister for Communications, Climate Action, & Environment, I continue to oversee intensification of preparedness and contingency planning for the wide portfolio under my remit. Last month the Government published a Contingency Action Plan, setting out its approach to dealing with a ‘no deal’ Brexit. This is the culmination of many months of work. The Action Plan outlines the Government’s assessment of the challenges and the measures considered essential to limit the damage of a ‘no deal’ exit and to put in place measures to manage that exit as best as possible.
The Government and the EU remain committed to securing a negotiated outcome. We are now less than 70 days away from the UK withdrawal from the EU. Contingency preparations for a ‘no deal’ outcome are therefore intensifying as the risk of a disorderly Brexit increases, posing unique and unprecedented challenges. This work continues both at a national and EU level and further information on no deal preparedness will follow in in the coming weeks.
The Government’s overall objectives have been consistent from the start – seeking to minimise the impact on trade and the economy, protecting the peace process including avoiding a hard border, maintaining the Common Travel Area and reinforcing commitment to and participation in the EU. These objectives continue to guide our approach, regardless of the type of Brexit which emerges.
All resourcing of Brexit preparations, staffing and other costs relating to Brexit activities in my Department are met by existing budgets. Potential impact on a particular sector will depend largely on the shape of the future relationship between the EU and UK. Any future expenditure and staffing is dependent on evolving requirements.