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Brexit Bulletin – April 2019
Brexit Bulletin – April 2019

Welcome to the April 2019 edition of the BPIF’s Brexit Bulletin. Spring is in the air, and we’re somehow still in the EU. Yes, it looks like this is going to continue for a while longer, so take a deep breath, get comfortable and read on…

You can add colleagues to our mailing list by logging into the members’ area of the BPIF website or contacting your Regional Director.

 In this month’s Bulletin:

1. Brexit Update
2. Printing Outlook
3. Updates to the Home Office Toolkit for employers
4. Do I need to stock up on paper?
5. What's my SIC code?
6. Latest publications 

Brexit Update

MPs returned to the Commons last week and to the news that the Prime Minister is said to be considering another vote on her Brexit deal. Any new version of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is expected to include sweeteners that the Government hopes will convince both Conservative Brexiteers and wavering Labour MPs to vote for it. Mrs May returned to Westminster to find some of her backbenchers attempting to change the party rules to allow another vote of no confidence – luckily for her the party voted against it, and she’s safe from an ousting until December at the earliest. That hasn’t stopped them calling for clarity from the PM regarding when she will step aside, whether the Withdrawal Agreement passes this time or not.

As it stands, the ‘flexible extension’ offered by the EU lasts until October 31. If an Agreement can be made in that period, the UK can leave the EU immediately. If not, European Parliament elections will have to take place in the UK on 23 May in order to maintain the extension until the autumn. No Agreement, and no participation in the elections would mean leaving the EU without a deal on 1 June – we can’t stay in the EU without parliamentary representatives, even if only for a few months.

Printing Outlook

Brexit-related confidence remains severely lacking. The barometer for during negotiations has become slightly less negative in Q1 2019, following Q4’s extremely negative report. In comparison to last quarter, slightly more respondents (9%) are now ‘somewhat confident’ regarding the outlook for the UK economy; up from 7% in Q4. A further 2% were actually ‘very confident’ – as opposed to none in Q4. Less than one-third (29%) are currently ‘neither confident nor unconfident’, down slightly from 33% previously. Almost two-fifths (39%) are ‘somewhat unconfident’; much the same as the 38% in Q4. 21% have now selected the ‘very unconfident’ category, down marginally from 22% in Q4.

Many respondent comments refer to sheer frustration that the uncertainty still has not been removed, a loss of faith in our politicians and concern over ‘no deal’ becoming a reality by default. However, there were still numerous more positive comments expressing a desire to just get it done and that, after a period of adjustment, it will be better for UK businesses to leave the EU.

Companies have expressed a range of concerns regarding the impact Brexit may have on their business. However, a few stand out – primarily there is a realisation that many inputs (in particular paper) do not originate in the UK and so maintaining a reliable and secure supply chain now comes through as the top concern (selected by 72% of respondents). General cost inflation came through as the second most pressing concern (selected by 53% of respondents). Third was non-tariff barriers (36%). Further back were concerns over unskilled labour shortages due to immigration controls, the inability to retain EU workers and tariff barriers.

To read more on this quarter's Printing Outlook, please click here

Updates to Home Office Toolkit for Employers

The EU Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March and over 50,000 applications were made on the opening weekend of the Scheme going live, bringing the total number of applications made to more than 280,000.

EU citizens have until 30 June 2021 to apply. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline for applications will be brought forward to 31 December 2020.

The Home Office’s Toolkit for Employers has been updated, explaining what staff need to do and providing information – posters, videos, etc – to help employers communicate to staff about the EU Settlement Scheme. There is also a UK Settlement Scheme helpline for applicants, 0300 123 7379.

Please click here to view the updated Toolkit for Employers.

Do I need to stock up on paper?

Two UK paper merchants, Denmaur and Antalis, have confirmed with us that they’ve obtained Advanced Economic Operator (AEO) status. This is a quality mark that shows their role in the supply chain is secure and that their customs controls and procedures are efficient and meet EU standards. It will give them quicker access to some simplified customs procedures and – in some cases – the right to fast track shipments through some customs and safety and security procedures.

They have also been making plans for extra capacity and have extra bonded and warehouse space.

Speak to your suppliers about maintaining paper supply over the coming months.

What's my SIC code?

We’ve covered the importance of getting an EORI number for trading with the EU. To apply for your EORI number, you’ll need to know your SIC code. Your SIC code is your Standard Industrial Classification Code, it defines the nature of your business activity. You can find it on your company’s entry on the Companies House Register. e.g. 18129 – Printing (other than printing of newspapers and printing on labels and tags). 

To start finding your SIC code, please click here.

Latest publications

We've trawled through the latest publications about Brexit of particular relevance to the printing industry.

View the Online Resources here

20 May 2019

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