The European Council took place last week with a deal between the UK and EU still to be reached. On Friday 16ththe Prime Minister made a statement to the press encouraging businesses to prepare for leaving with no deal.
Johnson tries to call this an ‘Australian’ arrangement but the reality is that it would lead to tariffs and significant barriers with the EU not just on trade. Labour continues to press the Government to deliver the deal on the terms it promised at the general election including tariff-free and barrier-free trade, protections for the environment and workers’ rights, and a robust and comprehensive security partnership.
The Government continues to show their lack of competence with preparations before the end of the transition period regardless of whether a deal is reached. This is particularly concerning with businesses already facing the challenge of Covid-19. The chemical sector has warned of a real threat to UK industry with a possible weak Brexit deal alongside new rules that diverge from Uk standards. The Federation of Small Businesses has expressed their frustration at the lack of progress and the House of Lords’ EU services subcommittee said Britain’s £225bn professional services industry — including accountants, lawyers and recruiters — has been neglected in the negotiations and is in danger of losing valuable EU business after Brexit, even if the government strikes a “Canada-style” trade deal.
Negitiations continue with state aid and fisheries remaining the two issues cited as points of contention. EU Council President Charles Michel has specificed that without a robust state aid regime, in the automotive industry tariff-free access to the Single Market could risk hundreds of thousands of EU jobs.
The Internal Market Bill now starts in the House of Lords this week.