The decision was taken to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016, with 56.5% of voters in Cornwall voting to leave. This has and will impact upon a number of industries and policy areas across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. That's why ‘Brexit Ready Cornwall’ is a key component of the Council’s ‘Democratic Cornwall’  priority.

On this page you will find information on what the Council has been doing to prepare for Brexit. You will also find what steps you can make over the next few months ahead of exit day.

As exit day approaches, we recommend that you also undertake suitable steps to prepare, as detailed below in the 'how to prepare' sections.

If you need help completing your EU Settlement Scheme application, we can support you with the ID verification part of the process with our EU Settlement Scheme ID scanning service.

Cornwall Council has been engaged in a large range of activity to prepare us for Brexit ever since the referendum result was announced. With the release of the Withdrawal Agreement and outline declaration on the future relationship,  the release of Government's guidance notices on how to prepare for no deal, and the extension to the UK's membership, we will continue to re-assess and make plans ahead of exit day.

Cornwall Council is working closely with partners to help ensure that we are Brexit ready from exit day. This includes discussions through the Leadership Board and our strategic partnerships. We are also working closely with partners in the South West, including the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Resilience Forum to ‘Brexit-proof’ well-established resilience measures for a range of possible outcomes, and with the Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay Brexit group. We are also continuing to assess and prepare for the potential impact on Cornwall Council service-level business continuity and to support residents. As the national situation evolves we will continue to adapt our service and planning processes, and update this page in due course.

EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re a citizen of the European Union (EU), Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you and your family will be able to apply to get either settled or pre-settled status. This will mean you can continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020.

You will not need to apply to the scheme if:

  • you’re an Irish citizen
  • you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • you have indefinite leave to enter the UK

Your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will still need to apply even if you do not need to.

The scheme is free to apply to. Anybody who paid a fee for applications made during the test phase should be reimbursed.

The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, if the UK leaves the EU with a deal. In a 'no deal scenario', there will be an earlier deadline of 31 December 2020.

If you cannot complete you application online, we can help you complete the ID verification part of the process through our scanning service.

Find out about our EU Settlement Scheme ID Scanning Service

Preparing your business for Brexit

Preparing your business for Brexit

Leaving the EU will mean most UK businesses should expect change. There will be new arrangements and changes in law for trading with EU and non-EU countries.

Cornwall Council, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses have released a short guidance document to help your business prepare for new trading arrangements in a no deal scenario.

There are 9 immediate actions you can take:

  1. Register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  2. Decide if you want to hire an agent to make import and/or export declarations for you or if you want to make these declarations yourself (by buying software that interacts with HMRC’s systems, registering for the National Export System). Customs intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations can now apply for grants to support training and IT.
  3. Contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out if you will need to supply additional information to them - and make sure drivers understand the documents they need at the border.
  4. Register for new simplified import procedures.
  5. Confirm if you need licences or certificates to bring your goods across the border.
  6. Be aware of changes to the way you account for VAT on imports, and of changes to EU VAT IT systems.
  7. Check for updates on tariffs that apply to your goods, and consider using duty relief schemes
  8. Ensure you're prepared to allow any personal data flows from Europe to continue after EU exit.
  9. Signpost your European citizens to the EU Settlement Scheme.

It is also recommended that you discuss preparations with customers and suppliers - including responsibilities and Incoterms - and that you tell your employees about changes to passport rules.

More detailed information is available for each of the following areas and sectors:

Within the information linked to above is detailed guidance on the implications of no deal. You may also find it useful to know the latest on the European Union's no deal planning.

Getting support in Cornwall:

Other support and toolkits:

Further information or support is available from:

Stay up to date

You can be alerted to further information by registering for HMRC’s EU Exit update service.

Even if the UK’s membership of the EU is extended, we will continue to ensure that we are as best prepared as we can be for EU exit of any form. If the UK leaves without a deal, there will be many immediate changes across a range of areas, including for anyone travelling to the EU.

Below is some publically available information and materials, which you might find useful to support our communities.

The rights and status of our European citizens and their families

Whatever happens, our European residents and their families will continue to be valued members of our community who we hope will continue to call Cornwall their home.

Even in a no deal scenario, Government has said that it will protect the rights and status of European citizens and their family members lawfully resident in the UK by 29 March 2019. This means that they will retain broadly the same rights and eligibilities as they do now – including access to housing and public services – until at least December 2020. And they will still be able to use their passport, national ID card or biometric residence document to evidence their eligibility.

If a deal is eventually reached, new arrivals from the EU will also be able to move freely to the UK as they do now for the duration of a transition period.

Citizens of the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Switzerland, and their families, will also be able to apply to Government’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ to continue living in the UK after December 2020.  The deadline for applications will be 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, extended to 30 June 2021 if a deal is eventually agreed.

Government is currently deciding upon arrangements to support vulnerable people through the scheme, and we will update you on this when information becomes available. A dedicated contact centre and casework team is already available, and can be reached at 0300 123 7379 (Charges apply).

A toolkit of briefings, posters, videos and leaflets are available. We have also prepared a question and answer sheet to help you answer questions on general information about the scheme. (Please note, you may also be asked for immigration advice, but you should not provide advice to individuals unless you are a qualified immigration advisor).

More information can be found on the EU Settlement Scheme section on this page.

Safe and welcoming communities

We know that Cornwall will continue to be a warm and welcoming place to our European friends, family and colleagues who have made Cornwall their home. But we must also recognise that some people may use EU exit as an excuse for discriminatory behaviour, even if EU exit is delayed.

In part this is about ensuring that the continued rights and status of our European citizens are understood, as described above. But in addition, we all need to say NO to hate crime if it occurs. We must work to encourage the reporting of hate crime, and to ensure that victims and their families are supported.  It is important that if you experience, see or know about hate crime in your community, you should report it.

Devon and Cornwall Police have a range of useful information and materials, including a leaflet for the zero tolerance campaign

Supporting vulnerable individuals

None of us can be sure about the short term impacts if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, including what it might mean for the cost of everyday goods. But together we can ensure that we are vigilant and offering support where it’s needed whatever happens.

Where individuals do need a hand, you can help support them by signposting them to the right help.

Inclusion Cornwall provide lists of resources on a range of topics, from sources of crisis funding to support for migrant workers. Credit Unions might also offer financial support for those in need. You can also help identify support available from the Support in Cornwall website.

Volunteer Cornwall are also coordinating a Brexit Buddies scheme, to pair up volunteers with anyone who feels isolated or vulnerable.

New Frontiers

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, with the rest of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board, we have created New Frontiers, our post-Brexit plan. New Frontiers is currently being reviewed by government to help accelerate our regional development economically, environmentally and socially. It will support a local economy that works for everyone, and will help build global industries, grow skills and wages and protect our heritage and environment.

New Frontiers is a series of requests of Government, structured around three sections:

Post-Brexit frameworks designed to support all sectors of our economy, our environment and our society, and to enable us to flourish beyond Brexit:

Developing our distinctive strengths as a rural Industrial Strategy pilot in:

Devolved powers and funding which will build on and subsequently add to our existing Deal:

Each section contains a series of propositions which articulate a strong local ‘offer’. This is alongside our ‘ask’ of national government, to unlock clearly defined ‘benefits'. We are now engaged in dialogue with Government to discuss these proposals further.

You can view a timeline of our major preparatory activity below:

  • June 2016

    Brexit referendum
    56.5% in Cornwall vote to leave

  • July 2016

    Cornwall Brexit Summit

    CIOS LEP study on the impact of Brexit on businesses in Cornwall

  • August 2016

    Inaugural meeting of the Futures Group

  • November and December 2016

    Futures Group roundtables with stakeholders

  • January 2017

    Publication of ‘Catalyst for Change’ report

    The cover of the "A Catalyst For Change" report

  • January 2017

    Hosted LGA Brexit session for the South West

  • February 2017

    Second Cornwall Brexit Summit

  • February 2017

    Visit by Commons Exiting the EU Select Committee to take oral evidence

  • May 2017

    Chief Executive joins CIPFA’s Brexit Advisory Commission

  • August 2017

    Publication of research on CIOS EEA workforce

  • September 2017

    Roundtable discussion with Secretary of State Sajid Javid and Brexit minister Steve Baker

  • December 2017

    First meeting of the Intermediate Body Network

  • December 2017

    Oral evidence to Parliamentary Brexit & Local Government inquiry

  • May 2018

    Publication of New Frontiers

    The front covers of various "New Frontiers" documents

  • July 2018

    Visit by Secretary of State for MHCLG James Brokenshire

  • August 2018

    Initial Council service-level review of implications

  • August 2018

    Publication of CIOS trade profile analysis

  • August 2018

    Appointment of Chief Executive to MHCLGs Brexit Advisory Board

  • October 2018

    Addition of 2 new Brexit risks to Corporate Risk Register

Brexit Summit

On July 15 2016, shortly after the referendum result was announced, Cornwall Council and the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro, hosted a Brexit Summit. This invited leaders across the public, private and voluntary sectors of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to come together to discuss the impacts and opportunities of the decison.

A group was formed following this summit called the ‘Futures Group’. This group was tasked with developing a proposition for a new domestically-funded economic investment programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It was also tasked with reinforcing the clear messages coming out of the Summit on promoting community cohesion and underlining that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is open for business.

The Futures Group also organised a programme of roundtable discussions in November and December 2016. These were to gauge the views of businesses and policy practitioners on the implications, risks and opportunities of Brexit for key sectors in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The evidence report on the findings of the roundtable discussions was published. You can read this as ‘A Catalyst for Change: Implications, Risks and Opportunities of Brexit for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’.

Catalyst for Change

A second Brexit Summit took place on 2 February 2017. This was hosted by Cornwall Council and the Rt Revd Chris Goldsmith, Bishop of St Germans. This Summit received a progress report from the Futures Group on its work since July. It also discussed the next steps in terms of preparing Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for Brexit.

We are standing up for Cornwall by continuously engaging with Government. We are doing this through our MPs, ministers, and civil servants. This has included hosting a roundtable discussion on the implications of Brexit for the South West with the Department of Communities and Local Government, and a discussion with the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP and Steve Baker MP.

We also welcomed the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee to Cornwall. The Committee Chairman Hilary Benn MP and MPs John Whittingdale and Alistair Burt were hearing evidence about the implications for Cornwall to inform their inquiry.

More recently, we've also hosted visits from several ministers. These included the Secretary of State James Brokenshire MP, the Secretary of State Chris Grayling MP, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss. 

We’ve also used our connections through the CIPFA Brexit Advisory Commission, and lead the formation of an Intermediate Body network. This is to strengthen our voice in partnership to influence the shape of replacements for European funding.

Our leadership on local authority Brexit preparations has recently been acknowledged through the appointment of the Council's Chief Executive to the Government's Local Government Brexit Advisory panel.


Cornwall Council and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP commissioned research on the economic and social impacts of European Economic Area (EEA) workers in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. You can read the final report which was completed in October 2017.

We have also recently conducted an anlysis of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's trade profile. This was to establish a better understand of our trade patterns to help us prepare for a post-Brexit trading regime. You can read a summary or the full report.

We have continued to submit responses to various consultations, including oral evidence to the Commons Select Committee for Exiting the EU. Written responses can be found on our Government Consultations page. These provide an evidence-base from which to understand our current position and enable informed influence of future Government policy related to Brexit on issues including:

Cornwall's Brussels Office also provides a valuable vantage point from Brussels. This is supported by the Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership, and Combined Universities in Cornwall. Located at the heart of EU decision making, it represents the interests of Cornwall in Brussels through policy influence, intelligence and profile.