London – What happens if Britain leaves the EU without a deal? Britain sketched out more implications, including the possibility that British driving licences will no longer be valid in Europe and that mobile phone roaming charges will jump.
Here are the main points from 53 of the 84 “technical notices” that are due to be published by the end of September about the impact for consumers and businesses if negotiations collapse:
– Driving licences –
The government warned British licences “may no longer be valid by itself when driving in the EU” and tourists may need to obtain an international driving permit to use the roads there.
Britons living in Europe “may need to take a new driving test” to get an EU license, while Europeans in the UK will be able to drive on their permits until it expires or until three years after arriving and could exchange their licence.
– Passports –
Britons with passports with less than six months validity left on the day of travel could be denied entry to EU countries and therefore should renew before travelling, the government said.
Five-year child passports issued to under-16s should also have at least six months validity remaining on the date of travel, it added.
– Mobile roaming –
EU regulations limiting what its mobile operators can charge British networks for roaming would no longer apply.
“This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed,” the government said.
Timeline of the Brexit talks
The notice said pricing would be a “commercial question for the mobile operators” and warned customers in areas of Northern Ireland, a British province bordering EU member Ireland, to be aware of “inadvertent roaming”.
– Card payment hike –
The government warned British consumers could face “increased costs and slower processing times” for euro transactions and that “the cost of card payments between the UK and EU will likely increase”.
A European Union ban on surcharging that stops businesses charging consumers for using certain payment methods would also end.
Consumers could face another potential cost increase when online shopping, since parcels arriving in Britain would no longer be liable for Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) on Value Added Tax.
– Red tape –
Firms trading with the EU could also face new costs.
Companies should “if necessary, put steps in place to renegotiate commercial terms to reflect any changes in customs and excise procedures, and any new tariffs that may apply to UK–EU terms,” one of the notices said.
“Businesses should consider whether it is appropriate for them to acquire software and/or engage a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to support them with these new requirements,” it said.
– Organic farmers –
Organic food exports to the EU will only be allowed once certified by a UK body that is recognised and approved by Brussels, according to the government.
The application for this recognition can only be made once Britain leaves the EU and approval can take up to nine months.
Pros and cons of possible models for a post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU
The National Farmers’ Union has warned this would be “hugely disruptive” and threaten livelihoods in Britain.
– Medicines –
Britain will leave the European Medicines Agency but would continue to recognise batch testing and EU certifications to avoid the need for re-testing and disruptions to supplies.
Blood banks and manufacturers of blood products would continue to conform to EU requirements, while EU laws on organs and tissues are being incorporated into British law, it said.
Brexit Minister Dominic Raab said Britain would also stockpile medicine for an extra six weeks on top of the current level of three months to avoid any disruption.
– Sperm shortage? –
The government warned there could be a delay in imports of sperm for couples seeking to conceive through artificial insemination.
Britain imported around 3,000 sperm samples from a commercial sperm bank in Denmark last year.
Sperm donations in Britain have fallen sharply since donors lost the right to anonymity under a law that came into force in 2005.
By Joe Jackson