The potential for the UK to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 without an agreement in place (“no deal”) on future trade and wider cooperation with the EU has become a realistic possibility. The Government has published a series of technical notices setting out the implications of this scenario for businesses and, in some cases, consumers and what contingency planning is taking place or needs to happen. These notices present a very stark picture of how exiting the EU with no deal could negatively affect consumers in multiple ways – increasing costs while decreasing both rights and choice.
Which? has analysed the government’s no deal notices to see what that scenario would mean for consumers. The main impacts are set out in the body of this report in relation to travel, food, consumer products, energy and consumer rights. We have also drawn on information provided by relevant businesses and trade associations. These show clearly that a no deal situation would have severe consequences for consumers, even if comprehensive contingency planning could be achieved in time.
Our four tests for a successful Brexit for consumers are whether it:
• Limits the potential for price rises and increases in the cost of living.
• Maintains or enhances the current high safety standards.
• Maintains or enhances consumer choice of a high-quality range of products and services.
• Supports consumers with a system that ensures their rights and access to redress.