In this section
We don’t yet know what the impact will be on Wales if we leave the EU without a deal – on the people living in Wales, on businesses operating in Wales and on the public services we all rely on.
But we do know that the likely impact of a disorderly exit from the EU would be of a scale that could result in some potentially-significant disruption to aspects of day-to-day life.
The Welsh Government is working closely with our public and private sector partners and other organisations and institutions across Wales to put in place plans to try to reduce this impact as far as possible and protect the smooth running of public services.
At this stage, there are no immediate actions people need to take to prepare for a no deal outcome in terms of our own daily lives but it is vital that everyone is aware of the potential impacts and are informed as and when circumstances change.
The European Council has granted the UK an extension to the date we are expected to leave the European Union (until 31 January 2020) but with the flexibility to leave earlier if an agreement can be found.
This website will be updated on a regular basis as our preparations evolve, and other public sector organisations will be providing public information as needed in their areas.
The UK government has a Prepare for EU exit campaign to give individuals and businesses advice about preparations and the steps they may need to take.
People should not stockpile medication as this could cause supply disruption. At this stage, we do not anticipate the cancellation of operations, and A&E and GP services will continue to function as normal.
You can read more about our preparations for the Welsh NHS and social care, including work across the UK to maintain the supply of medicines and drugs for patients in Wales in the event of a no deal outcome.
We do not envisage any immediate impacts on the school system in Wales as a result of a no deal Brexit but we are working closely with local authorities to make sure any potential implications are understood and that longer-term impacts can be managed. Find out more about how we are working to maintain local services.
Universities in Wales are working hard to prepare for the impact on their work, including the implications for EU students currently studying in Wales.
For some groups in the population – children reliant on school meals; elderly people in residential care; patients in hospitals – the impact of a no deal exit from the EU could raise anxieties about food supplies.
Most of our food is produced in the UK or comes from non-EU countries – if there are any problems, they will be about the choice of some fresh products, not a general shortage of food.
We are working closely with the UK government and other devolved administrations to ensure food supply is maintained. Contingency plans to ensure continuity of food supplies has involved food manufacturers. Planning has also involved supermarkets who are committed to supplying all their stores fairly, wherever they are.
NHS and social care organisations that use large food suppliers are not likely to experience any significant disruption, meaning hospitals and most care homes will continue to provide balanced meals for patients and residents as usual.
The majority of school meals are provided by local authority catering services, plans are in place to deal with any disruption to food supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Some schools have their own catering arrangements and local authorities are working with them and governors to assess any potential impact and provide advice and support to make sure they continue to provide schools meals.
The Welsh economy could face major disruption in the event of a no deal Brexit, for example as a result of delays at ports and increased tariff barriers. We have already made substantial funding available for Brexit adaptations for businesses. However, if you own a business in Wales or are responsible for Brexit planning, then our Business Wales Brexit portal sets out the steps you should take to prepare your business for the potential impact of a no deal outcome. It also provides contact details for our support and advice services, which are ready to help.
The UK government has published advice for UK citizens planning to travel to the EU. This includes advice about passports, travel advice, pet travel and mobile roaming fees.
We recognise that Brexit is a divisive issue in Wales – as it is elsewhere in the UK – we are fully committed to maintaining and enhancing community cohesion and respect for everyone living in Wales.
We have made additional funding available for our regional community cohesion programme to undertake specific work to mitigate community tensions relating to Brexit. There is a risk of heightened tension and we urge people to report any instances of hate crime or other issues to the police immediately.
In the event that there are emerging risks of significant disruption to public services and other sectors in the run up to exit day and beyond, the Welsh Government will activate its well-established resilience response, which is run from the Emergency Co-ordination Centre (Wales).
This will enable close joint working with all partners in Wales, including each Local Resilience Forum. We will link with similar UK government mechanisms in Whitehall and the other devolved administrations.
The UK government has primary responsibility for preparations in non-devolved areas, such as defence, welfare, policing, security, international trade and foreign affairs. But we are working closely with it to ensure the particular needs of Wales are recognised, understood and met in its planning work.
If you are an EU citizen, have EU staff or are recruiting from the EU, the Home Office has published the following advice:
- EU citizens in the UK – Stay Informed, provides information about the citizens’ rights agreement and the Settlement Scheme for EU citizens in the UK.
- If EU citizens want to stay in the UK beyond 31 December 2020, they and their close family members will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The scheme has been open fully since March 2019.
- A toolkit has been launched to equip employers with tools and information to support EU citizens and their families about the EU Settlement Scheme.
The Welsh Government has announced a package of support to help EU citizens prepare for Brexit and continue to live and work in Wales. The package will:
- offer support with applications and advice on social welfare issues and workplace rights through the network of Citizens Advice throughout Wales
- provide an immigration advice service offering specialist support for complex cases, delivered by immigration legal specialists, Newfields Law
- increase the provision of digital support centres in Wales – to help those without the digital means to apply for settled status
- work with a range of charities and partners across Wales to raise awareness of the need to apply for settled status in hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities.