Following last week’s construction industry Brexit Contingency Planning Conference, I am writing with an update on the actions that were agreed, and to provide you with more information about the timeline for taking these forward.
The agreed actions covered: the construction workforce, including skills and migration; the import and export of goods; the future regulatory regime and demonstrating compliance with this; and communicating with Government regarding the key concerns of the industry about a no deal Brexit. In addition, we have also identified that some firms may need to take action to comply with data protection rules, so have included guidance on these in this e-mail.
The Skills Working Group of the CLC, Chaired by Mark Reynolds, has established a “virtual” Brexit Contingency Group to focus on short, medium and long term skills actions. The Group has already met, and is in the process of agreeing a report that will include recommendations and actions – this will be circulated to members on Friday 8th February. This will outline what industry should be doing, and what our asks are of the Government. The Group will meet again next week to refine the recommendations and actions, and will issue an interim draft on the 15th February, with the aim of concluding this work and issuing a final report by Friday 22nd February. This will be published on the CLC website and shared with the construction press. If you wish to receive a copy of the draft proposals on 15th February, please email email@example.com.
Import and Export of Goods
Significant progress has been made on arrangements for import and export of goods since the conference which will reduce the potential impacts of a no-deal scenario, for those firms that have taken action and followed the guidance published by HMRC.
To prepare, both importers and exporters should register for a Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number at www.gov.uk/hmrc/get-eori.
HMRC announced on the 4 February that in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement, Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) will be applied to imports. These will apply for at least 15 months (they will be reviewed after 3 and 6 months and there will be a 12 month notice period prior to their removal). Once registered, firms will be able to transport goods into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and will be able to postpone paying their import duties.
Importers will be able to for TSP online from 7 February at www.gov.uk/hmrc/eu-simple-importing. An EORI number is required to do this. For further guidance, including which ports TSP applies to, please go to www.gov.uk/hmrc/eu-simple-importing.
Firms wishing to receive regular updates on developments can register for HMRC’s email update service at www.gov.uk/hmrc/business-support select ‘business help and education emails’, then ‘EU Exit’. Non-VAT registered businesses should also go to www.gov.uk/hmrc/trade-with-the-eu for changes that affect them.
However, there are some controlled goods (e.g. alcohol, tobacco or explosives) regarding which further information will be required before importing, and where licences and other import procedures may apply. Details of these can be accessed through the following link (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-trade-tariff-import-prohibitions-and-restrictions/uk-trade-tariff-import-prohibitions-and-restrictions).
After registering for their EORI number, exporters should register for the register for the National Export System at www.gov.uk/guidance/export-declarations-andthe-national-export-system-export-procedures.
Firms should also consider appointing a customs agent to make declarations on their behalf, or if this is not the right solution for the firm, but it is a regular importer and exporter, ensure someone within the firm is trained to make customs declarations, and buy any specialist software required that can link with HMRC’s customs systems.
Firms should also review what tariffs would apply to products in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. Guidance on what tariffs will apply, and information about tariffs on individual products can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/classifying-your-goods-in-the-uk-trade-tariff-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/classifying-your-goods-in-the-uk-trade-tariff-if-theres-a-no-brexit-deal.
Construction Products Regulations
The Construction Products Association (CPA) have worked with other stakeholders to produce technical notes on the Construction Products Regulation and Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation an Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH) in the event of a no deal Brexit. These are attached/can be accessed on the CPA website at https://www.constructionproducts.org.uk/publications/technical-and-regulatory/brexit-and-the-reach-regulation-under-a-no-deal-scenario/.
General Data Protection Regulation
Some firms in the construction sector may need to transfer personal data with other organisations or subsidiaries in the EU after the UK leaves. Rules governing the collection and use of personal data (data which includes personal details of an individual, or which would enable an individual to be identified on the basis of this), are currently set at an EU-level by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under GDPR rules, organisations are only permitted to transfer personal data outside the EU if there is a legal basis for doing so. Organisations which will need to receive personal data from other organisations in the EU will need to take action to ensure those organisations can send them this information without breaching GDPR rules. Guidance on the actions firms should take to enable the continued flow of personal data has been published by the Government. Details of this can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/data-protection-if-theres-no-brexit-deal.
Communication with Government
As Chair of the CLC, I will be writing to the Construction Minister, Richard Harrington, to summarise the conclusions of the Conference and set out the actions that the industry is undertaking to prepare for a no deal Brexit, and the support that we would like from the Government. A copy of the letter will be published on the CLC website.