By Paul Sandle
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is urging businesses and individuals to prepare for the Dec. 31 end of the Brexit transition period with an information campaign titled: “The UK’s new start: let’s get going.”
Britain left the European Union on Jan. 31, three and a half years after a referendum, but a transition period has delayed any major change in the relationship.
The two sides have been working to agree a trade deal ahead of that period expiring at the end of the year.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said on Sunday progress was being made in talks but there were still divisions.
“At the end of this year we are leaving the single market and Customs Union regardless of the type of agreement we reach with the EU,” he said. “This will bring changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.”
The information campaign will launch on Monday, the government said, with ads appearing on TV, radio, billboards and online.
A survey from lobby group the Institute of Directors (IoD) said only a quarter of companies were fully ready for the end of the transition period.
Nearly half of 978 company directors polled in late June said they were not able to prepare right now, with one in seven distracted by the coronavirus and almost a third saying they needed details of changes to be clear, the IoD said.
“With so much going on, many directors feel that preparing for Brexit proper is like trying to hit a moving target,” said IoD Director General Jonathan Geldart. “Jumping immediately into whatever comes next would be a nightmare for many businesses.”
The campaign targets Britons intending to travel to the EU from Jan. 1, importers and exporters, UK nationals abroad, and EU, European Economic Area and Swiss nationals living in Britain.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)