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The UK's "No Deal Brexit" preparations accelerate as Boris Johnson sweeps into 10 Downing Street with promises of public funding, devolution and infrastructure investment

29 July 2019
DWF | General Contracts
Boris Johnson's appointment as Prime Minister has greatly increased the chance of a "No Deal Brexit", with Cabinet Minister Michael Gove announcing that the Government is now "working on the assumption" that the UK will leave the European Union without a deal on 31 October 2019.   

We can expect the Government to publish revised guidance notes on no deal preparations for UK businesses and citizens in the coming weeks. The Government also appears willing to use public funding to boost the economy, announcing a new £3.6 billion Towns Fund announced over the weekend alongside a a commitment to invest in the HS2 rail line between Leeds and Manchester. Further large announcements are expected in the Spending Review, including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which shall replace the EU Funds post-Brexit.

The UK Government has announced that it is "Turbo-Boosting" its "no deal Brexit" preparations ahead of autumn negotiations with the European Union, which will surely mean new and revised Government advice on how to prepare for a no deal Brexit. The previous 'No Deal' Technical Guidance notes were published in  August, September and  October 2018.  In all there over 100 notices were published covering a wide range of issues such as State aid control, aviation security, commercial road haulage, importation of animals, the labelling of food, the regulation of chemicals, copyright, patents, trademarks, low carbon energy, veterinary medicines and travelling within the Common Travel Area by British and Irish citizens and what actions should be taken by UK citizens, businesses and the public sector.

Boris Johnson also announced a new £3.6 billion Towns Fund which shall support an initial 100 towns investing in improved transport and broadband connectivity as well as social and cultural infrastructure, from libraries and art centres to parks and youth services, described by Boris Johnson as "the institutions that bring communities together, and give places new energy and new life".

At this time, the details of the new Towns Fund are limited, and it is not clear whether this is linked to the £1.6bn Stronger Towns Fund announced by Boris Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May. One element, which is clear, is that the fund is part of a wider drive to empower local people to make decisions about their towns, cities and regions. Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse Minister has led on a policy to move decision making from the corridors of Whitehall to local people. Boris Johnson speaking in Manchester enthusiastically committed to this policy and has invited Jake Berry to participate in Cabinet meetings, emphasising his growing influence.

Finally, the Government has also promised a faster rail route been Manchester and Leeds, hailing the benefits as "Colossal". The Prime Minister announced that full details of the proposal will be published in the autumn. Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham welcomed the announcement by said that similar promises had been made previously. He commented that "a London-style transport system for Greater Manchester sounded very good to me but we will have to see real action now to back up the prime minister's words" and asked "What about Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle? All of those places need a commitment."

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