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This was another momentous week in the Brexit process, with the conclusion of further UK and EU negotiations on the ‘backstop’ followed by three crucial votes in the British Parliament.
‘Meaningful Vote 3’ is expected by 20 March. If this leads to the Withdrawal Agreement being approved, the extension will be a short technical extension, with the possibility of a longer extension left open if there is no such approval.
An extension needs the unanimous approval of the EU27, and their decision is expected at the European Council meeting on 21/22 March. Obtaining that approval will not be straightforward, particularly if a long extension is requested.
We are still in uncharted territory politically:
The delay requested by the UK will be welcome by some organisations as it avoids the potential disarray of a no-deal exit in two weeks’ time. But an extension, unless short and technical, would prolong the uncertainty for business and add complexity. Some have fully prepared with the 29 March date in mind, so will be frustrated at having to unwind positions in the next few days and with the potential need to plan for a new exit date in the near future.
Leaving the EU without a deal remains a possibility, because it is the default legal position if no extension is agreed. So until there is clarity, which may not emerge until the week commencing 25 March, our advice remains unchanged: businesses should continue to plan for a range of outcomes, including no deal.
On Monday 18 March Deloitte will host a Brexit webcast to provide an update on the political developments and what this means for business; you can sign up here.
Amanda is Head of Tax & Trade Policy for Deloitte UK. She leads a team undertaking analysis and preparing insights across the spectrum of tax and trade matters including Budgets, technical consultations, trade negotiations and post-Brexit border rules. Amanda has held a wide number of roles during her career including leading client relationships, global representative to the OECD, mentoring and non-executive board roles. As well as previously being a partner at another Big 4 firm, she was in industry at Vodafone plc as global head of indirect taxes and responsible for managing tax value chain and centralisation initiatives. Amanda has an active home life with four children and is also passionate about horses, riding whenever free time permits and supporting the charity World Horse Welfare including volunteering as Trustee and Treasurer for 7 years.