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UK Preparedness: End of the Transition Period

Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 24 November 2020

What progress his Department has made on ensuring UK preparedness for the end of the transition period. (909163)

Although it remains our intention and hope to reach agreement with the EU, as a responsible Government we continue to make extensive preparations for a wide range of scenarios. The FCDO is leading communication campaigns aimed at UK nationals living in the EU and UK travellers to the EU to help to ensure that they take the actions they need to be ready for the end of the transition period. We have also launched the UK nationals support fund, providing up to £3 million to support at-risk and hard-to-reach UK nationals who might need additional support to apply for residency in their host EU member states.

Will the Minister tell us how businesses and organisations in Clwyd South and the rest of the UK can access practical advice and support from the Government to ensure that they are ready for the end of the transition period?

My hon. Friend is right to ask such questions on behalf of his constituents. Let me point him in the direction of some areas of support. First, the Welsh Government provide an online EU transition portal at www.businesswales.gov.wales, where businesses and organisations can find up-to-date advice from the Welsh Government; there is an online query service and a helpline. For the UK as a whole, the best place to start is the gov.uk website, which provides comprehensive and up-to-date advice and includes step-by-step guides in key areas. From a business perspective, it might also be of interest to my hon. Friend to know that we continue to make excellent progress in our negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement to come into force in 2021, and we have agreed with the European economic area and European Free Trade Association states a continuity deal to ensure that trade flows continue at the end of the year while we finalise the more ambitious FTA that we are negotiating.