The Brexit transition period and where Cornwall stands

The UK formally left the European Union at 11pm on Friday, January 31 - so what’s changed since then?

Well, not much initially. The UK immediately entered an 11-month transition period during which the country will no longer be a member state but will still be subject to EU rules and regulations.

Continue reading

The transition period is designed to avoid abrupt changes to trade rules and immigration, and to give businesses and the government time to adjust post-Brexit.

It will also allow negotiations to begin over the future relationship between the UK and the EU, with the aim of striking a trade deal during this time.

Cornwall Council has taken a look at what this all means for residents and businesses.

 

The country will remain in the customs union and single market and will still be a part of existing EU trade deals, as well as being subject to EU regulations.

This means that current rules will stay the same for now, but businesses will need to prepare for changes at the end of the transition period.

Freedom of movement will also continue to apply during the transition, so UK nationals will still be able to move and live in the EU as they currently do.

The same applies for EU nationals wishing to live and work in the UK.

Europeans will have the same rights and status as before. This also means that there will be no change to the documents they need to prove their rights to rent or work.

European citizens who wish to stay in the UK after the transition period may need to apply for settled status to continue living in the UK from 2021. You will be able to apply up until June 2021.

Cornwall Council is offering an ID scanning service for those who would like help applying for settled status, and help for more applicants who need more support through Inclusion Cornwall.

The transition period is due to last 11 months, coming to an end on December 31, 2020.

It means that the UK has 11 months to negotiate its future relationship and trade deal with the European Union.

An extension to the transition period could be requested for up to two years, and the country has until June 30 this year to ask for this.

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill – the law which Parliament passed to agree the withdrawal deal – stops Ministers from being able to agree to an extension.

If by December 31, a deal on the future relationship has not been agreed, the UK will exit the transition period with no deal and will revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on trade and security, mirroring the terms of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

Cornwall Council has been preparing for different Brexit scenarios since the referendum result – including preparing the council for a possible ‘no deal’ outcome.

Working alongside partners across the South West, the council will continue to review its arrangements in 2020 to ensure it remains prepared.

Julian German, the leader of Cornwall Council, said: “As a council, we’re continuing to do all we can to stand up for Cornwall to ensure that the Prime Minister sticks to his commitment that Cornwall will be no worse off as a result of Brexit.

“Our New Frontiers plan was designed to help shape Government’s post-Brexit policy, and build upon our current devolution deal to enable Cornwall to make its own decisions.

“Our new collaborations with other areas – including the Great South West, and Britain’s Leading Edge – will also help to strengthen our voice in partnership.

“In the coming months we’ll also reiterate again and again that our European residents and their families are hugely valued members of our community who we hope will continue to make Cornwall their home.”

As a result of the deal reached between the UK and the EU, the funding that Cornwall currently receives from the EU’s 2014-2020 Budget is secured to the end of 2023.

Ralph Bunche, head of the Cornwall Brussels Office, said: “Some funding may continue depending on whether the UK decides to join some EU programmes, such as those that encourage research and innovation and cross-border collaboration.

“The UK government has consistently stated that Cohesion funding will be replaced via a UK Shared Prosperity Fund.”

Cornwall Council will continue to call on government to stick to the Prime Minister’s commitment for a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to match like-for-like the amount that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly receives from the EU.

Applicants in Cornwall can continue to bid for EU funding throughout 2020.
Any awards made in 2020 will be guaranteed for the duration of the project – up to three years.

From 2021 onwards, stakeholders in Cornwall will only be able to bid on EU projects under EU programmes that the UK has agreed to join.

Mr Bunche said: “EU stakeholders can continue to bid on projects under the full range of programmes which were accessible pre-Brexit, and any projects that were agreed at the start of this year will remain.

“There is a question about what will happen with those projects after the end of the year but, as it stands, there are no barriers to participating in programmes this year.”

 

Story posted on February 11, 2020