The UK’s biggest business group has been pressing the Government for many months to ensure that the UK only leaves the EU after a deal is in place.

However, the arrival as Prime Minister of Boris Johnson — insisting that come what may Brexit will happen on 31 October 2019 — and his appointment of Michael Gove as the head of no deal preparations, seems to have convinced the CBI that it can no longer rely on warnings.

Instead, it has produced “What comes next? The business analysis of no deal preparations”, available at, a report based on a comprehensive study of existing plans laid out by the UK Government, European Commission, Member States and firms.

Arguing that neither the UK nor the EU is ready for no deal, this sets out no fewer than 200 recommendations to help accelerate no deal preparations for both parties to the negotiations and for companies.

Over the next few weeks, the CBI wants the Government to review and update all technical notices and Brexit preparedness advice and to launch a targeted communications campaign with simple and clear advice for firms.

By the start of September, it goes on, the Government should bring forward the ability for UK firms to apply for essential licenses as a third (non-EU) country before the UK leaves and, by the middle of October, it should have scaled up trials of crucial IT systems.

If no deal occurs, the CBI urges, a pragmatic approach from authorities and Member States should be encouraged with regard to liability. For example, if hauliers and logistics providers can demonstrate best endeavours to try and meet new requirements, customs authorities should be pragmatic about small errors made in haste.

Last reviewed 31 July 2019