Britain’s government and businesses will not be prepared for the end of a transitional period of European Union membership regardless of whether talks to get a trade deal are successful, the Institute for Government (IfG) think tank said on Tuesday.
London and Brussels are attempting to thrash out a last-minute trade deal to protect nearly a trillion dollars of trade from disruption at the start of next year when EU rules on everything from customs to pet passports will cease to apply.
Britain has ruled out delaying the end of this transition period beyond Dec. 31 despite having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic which has sucked up government resources and presented huge unforeseen challenges for businesses.
The IfG report said there was not enough time for businesses to get ready for new trading rules, nor for the government to firm up processes for trade passing between EU member Ireland and British province Northern Ireland.
“Disruption in January is inevitable,” said Maddy Thimont Jack, associate director at the IfG.