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The Government has up-dated its Brexit Contingency Action Plan.

The Plan runs to over a 100 pages and it reflects the extensive whole-of-Government and EU level work which has already taken place, as well as the additional work that will happen between now and 31 October. In particular the Plan recognises that there is now a significant risk of a no deal Brexit on 31 October.

There is no doubt that the consequences of a no deal Brexit will be profound, including macroeconomic, trade and sectoral challenges. Moreover, the Government Statement points out that a no deal Brexit – “… will also have implications for trade on the island of Ireland, North and South cooperation and will pose risks for the Good Friday Agreement and political stability. It could have lasting societal impacts for Northern Ireland”.

While the Government’s extensive preparedness and contingency efforts will help mitigate the negative effects of Brexit, a no deal Brexit will be highly disruptive. In such a scenario, it will be impossible for the UK to maintain the current seamless arrangements with the EU across the full range of sectors and this will have knock-on consequences for Ireland.

The Plan emphasises the need for stepped up preparedness measures, by exposed businesses in particular, as the end date of 31 October approaches. Citizens and businesses cannot assume that because a no deal Brexit was averted in March and April that the same will happen in October – the need for prudent preparations is more pressing than ever.

Key areas for continued work have to include preparing for Budget 2020, additional infrastructure for ports and airports, and a new phase of the Government’s Brexit communications including an intensified engagement programme by Revenue, focussed on individual businesses and including targeted letters and follow-up phone calls.

One thing is certain – there is no shortage in the range and volume of work to be done.

Tom Ferris is a Consultant Economist specialising in Better Regulation. He lectures on a number of PAI courses and contributes blogs regularly to PAI. He was formerly the Senior Economist at the Department of Transport.