6 Months Until Brexit – Where Are We Now?

It’s coming up for 3 years since the first Brexit referendum. The UK has yet to leave the EU and may never do so. Uncertainty continues to prevail. If you are a UK expat, make sure your finances are Brexit-proof (and non-Brexit proof!) by speaking to an IFA.  

So when is the UK leaving the EU?

Currently, British MPs have agreed to a 6-month extension of Brexit until 31 st October 2019. The UK may leave the EU sooner than that in the event that agreement is reached between British MPs and the EU. And all sorts of things can happen otherwise…  

Can Brexit still be cancelled?

Yes – if the UK parliament says so: “the European Court of Justice ruled on 10 December 2018 that the UK could cancel the Article 50 Brexit process without the permission of the other 27 EU members, and remain a member of the EU on its existing terms, provided the decision followed a “democratic process”, in other words, if Parliament voted for it.” (bbc.co.uk)  

Can Brexit be delayed?

Yes, if all EU countries as well as the UK agree.  

Could there be another referendum?

Yes, if changes are made to UK law. The Government could do this theoretically. Some academic experts have said that another referendum would take a good five to six months to organise with all the appropriate legal mechanisms in place correctly. The first UK Brexit referendum took place almost 3 years ago now – on 23 rd June 2016. There was less than 4% of the vote in it – with Leave winning by 51.9% over Remain’s 48.1%. That’s very close! No wonder now UK politicians are failing to find a clear way forward. There wasn’t much a consensus to begin with!  

How much does UK owe the EU if/when we do leave?

£39bn. That’s the sum which the current withdrawal agreement prescribes. It’s an irony of the Brexit process that Leave voters were promised that leaving the EU would save money for the UK.  

Brit Expats in the EU: what happens if the UK leaves with a No Deal?

Widespread disruption to most areas of UK life – but particular worrying times for UK expats living in the EU: “for British citizens in the EU after a no Agreement Brexit, they will become third country nationals and will need to bring themselves within either EU law on third country nationals or national law of the Member State where they are living. Very few of the EU 27 have set out detailed instructions for their authorities on how to deal with British citizens after Brexit in that case.” (Professor E. Guild, Queen Mary University, London)  

Brit Expats in the EU: what happens if the UK leaves with a Deal?

Until 31 st December 2020, British expats living in the EU will be able to stay as they are – if the UK Brexits according to the terms of the withdrawal agreement. Expats will need to ensure they are complying with the rules set out by the government of the EU country they are living in. And, after 31 st December 2020, no Brits will enjoy the automatic freedom of movement across other EU countries.  

What does Brexit mean for my money?

That’s the big question! As long as Brexit uncertainty continues, the UK Pound Sterling will likely be weak. But, other than that, nobody really knows. Theories and observations bound, particularly in relation to the UK housing market.  

How do I Brexit-proof my finances?

Give your financial picture a thorough review with your IFA. If you are a Brit living abroad, you need to be sure that Brexit does not deliver any personal nasty surprises in the area of:  Your status with the HMRC.  Your status with National Insurance Contributions (NICs).  Your UK state pension.  Your private and workplace pensions, some or all of which may still be held in the UK  Your cross-border investment interests, including property and funds.

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