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“Let’s get started”: Britain asks companies to prepare for Brexit crunch

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain calls on businesses and individuals to prepare for December 31 at the end of the Brexit transition period with an information campaign titled: “Britain’s New Start: Let’s Get Started.”

FILE PHOTO: The EU flag is placed on broken glass and the British flag in this illustration taken on 31 January 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

Britain left the European Union on January 31, three and a half years after a referendum, but a transitional period has delayed all major changes in the relationship.

The two sides have worked to agree on a trade agreement before the end of the year.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said on Sunday progress was made in talks but there were still divisions.

“At the end of this year, we will leave the single market and the customs union, regardless of the type of agreement we reach with the EU,” he said. “This will bring about changes and significant opportunities that we all need to prepare for.”

The information campaign will be launched on Monday, the government said, with ads appearing on TV, radio, signs and online.

A survey by the Institute of Director (IoD) lobby group said that only a quarter of the companies were fully ready for the end of the transition period.

Nearly half of the 978 business executives who visited in late June said they couldn’t prepare right now, with one in seven distracted by coronavirus, and nearly a third said they needed details about changes to be clear, the IoD said.

“With so much going on, many directors feel that preparing for Brexit is really like trying to hit a moving target,” said IoD Director General Jonathan Geldart. “Jumping immediately to what comes next would be a nightmare for many companies.”

The campaign is aimed at Britons intending to travel to the EU from 1 January, importers and exporters, UK citizens abroad and the EU, European Economic Area and Swiss citizens living in the UK.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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