The decision to leave the European Union was taken 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. If you or someone you know needs more support, you can also contact Inclusion Cornwall for guidance. 

Cornwall Council has been engaged in a large range of activity to prepare us for Brexit ever since the referendum result was announced. Following the extension to the Article 50 period until October 31, and the recent change in Government's approach to no deal planning, we are currently reviewing and refreshing our 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.

Photos of people happy after completing EU Settlement Scheme

What is the 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, and the ID checker app is available on both Android and iPhone devices.

When do I need to apply?

The deadline for applying is 31 December 2020.

Regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Government has guaranteed the rights and status of our European residents, and laid secondary legislation to come into force on exit day to implement that – including that to underpin continued access to domestic healthcare, education, and the continued recognition of professional qualifications.

The rights and status of currently resident EU citizens and their family members living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU will remain the same as now on exit day. You will therefore continue to have a right to stay and access public services after 31 October. This includes access to public fundssocial housing and homelessness supportbenefits and pensions, and free NHS care.

There will also be no changes to your right to rent or right to work, nor any changes to how you may need to prove that right – meaning that you are not required to prove your status under the EU Settlement Scheme until 2021.

How can I get support?

There is a national call centre available should you need it, and support for those who need digital skills support. You can also read guidance on how to use the ID checker app.

If you need additional support or guidance, we have partnered with Inclusion Cornwall to help you. They can refer you to local support organisations if your application is more complex. You can contact them on 01872 326440, or by emailing

You may be able to complete the application digitally using an Android or iPhone device - but if you cannot, we can help you complete the ID verification part of the process through our scanning service. Find out more about our ID Scanning Service.

Guidance is also available in a wide range of languages.

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.

Government's checker tool provides the best starting point for thinking about what you may need to do. You could also use the Chamber of Commerce Brexit Business Checklist.

Alternatively, you might consider finding information on the following issues: 

You may also find it useful to know the latest on the European Union's no deal planning.

Events and webinars

Government are hosting a series of events and webinars for businesses nationally, including some recent events in Cornwall and Devon.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub are running a series of free 1-2-1 business support sessions. If you need some support to understand how Brexit will impact your business, you can book a free 1-1 session in Hayle, St Austell, and Pool.

  • Tuesday 22 October - Hayle and St Austell
  • Wednesday 23 October - Pool
  • Thursday 24 October - Pool
  • Friday 25 October - Pool and St Austell

Further webinars for traders are available.

Priority actions

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.


Leaflets are available for each of the following areas:

Import and Export Brexit helpline

The national helpline can help you find out about:

  • customs declarations and procedures
  • duties and tariffs
  • importing and exporting different goods
  • transporting goods to and from the EU
  • product safety regulations

Telephone: 0300 3301 331
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Getting support in Cornwall:

Other sources of sector-specific guidance:

The Chamber of Commerce collates a useful list of sector-specific guidance.

Further information or support is also 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.

Regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Government has guaranteed the rights and status of our European residents, and laid secondary legislation to come into force on exit day to implement that – including that to underpin continued access to domestic healthcare, education, and the continued recognition of professional qualifications.

The rights and status of currently resident EU citizens and their family members living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU will remain the same as now on exit day. You will therefore continue to have a right to stay and access public services after 31 October. This includes access to public funds, social housing and homelessness support, benefits and pensions, and free NHS care. There will also be no changes to your right to rent or right to work, nor any changes to how you may need to prove that right – meaning that you are not required to prove your status under the EU Settlement Scheme until 2021.

Whilst there should be no immediate change for our European residents on exit day, you may need to take steps to continue to live and work in the UK after 31 December 2020. The EU Settlement Scheme provides a means to obtain a UK immigration status for this purpose, as detailed in the section above on this page. The deadline for applications will be 31 December 2020 

A toolkit of briefings, posters, videos and leaflets are available for you to support advertise the scheme to your organisation or community.

More information can be found on the EU Settlement Scheme section on this page - including details of our ID scanning service, and support available through Inclusion Cornwall.

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, or providing reassurance on areas like medicines, or continued eligibilities for access to public funds, social housing and homelessness support, benefits and pensions, and free NHS care.

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.

You can speak to Inclusion Cornwall on

01872 326440, or by emailing

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.

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. You can watch the session online.

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.

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


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 understanding 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.