Preparing for Brexit

What is Brexit?

Brexit is the short way of referring to Britain leaving the European Union. A referendum was held on Thursday 23rd June, 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave was voted for by 51.9% to 48.1%.

What do I need to know about Brexit?

The Prime Minister has stated that Britain will leave the EU on 31st October 2019. The UK could leave with a deal with the EU or it could leave without a deal being agreed. You may need to take steps to prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU especially if you are an EU national, run a business which trades with the EU or are planning to travel to the EU after 31st October, 2019. The Government has launched a ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ public information campaign.

You can also sign up to email updates (external link) to get automatic notifications.

EU Citizens living in Wigan Borough

If you’re an EU citizen you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30th June, 2021. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status. The Settlement Scheme allows you and your close family members to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

Settled status means you will remain eligible for:

  • Public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • Public funds and pensions
  • British citizenship, if you want to apply and meet the requirements.

We want to reassure all EU citizens and their family members in the UK that you still have until 31st December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, even if the UK leaves without a deal. Furthermore, if someone who is eligible for status is not in the UK when we leave the EU, they will still be free to enter the UK as they are now.

Further details can be found in our free movement factsheet (external link), or you can ask a question (external link).

How will Brexit affect my business?

If you have a business the Government has a simple online questionnaire to help you understand how Brexit will affect you:

This includes advice on preparations you may need to take depending on your sector, what’s changing in your industry and information on specific rules and regulations. They have also created an employee toolkit (external link) if you employ EU citizens.

The Government have arranged events and webinars across the country for businesses to prepare for Brexit, there is also advice for Hauliers. Locally these are:

  • The Department for Business is holding a series of free face-to-face events that include support and advice stands, with in-depth sessions led by subject matter experts from across government, including Defra, HMRC, Home Office and DCMS. Local events are: 14th October - Liverpool; 21st October - Manchester. You can register online (external link)
  • Register yourself online (external link) for Creating a Brexit Business Action Plan workshop: 24th October - Bolton
  • The Department for Transport (external link) is setting up information pop-up stands across the UK and Europe to help hauliers and businesses prepare for Brexit, so that goods can continue to flow smoothly through ports
  • HMRC is running Get Ready for Brexit webinars (external link) during October, which provide an overview of everything UK businesses involved in the movement of goods between the EU and the UK need to know to keep goods moving after 31 October

Visit the Business Growth Hub (external link) for general information for Greater Manchester businesses.


There will be changes to travelling to the EU after 31st October if the UK leaves without a deal. The Government is advising that passports should have at least six months left. There will be no immediate changes if the UK agrees a deal - see visit Europe after Brexit for further details (external link).

Driving in the EU

How is Wigan Council preparing for Brexit?

Wigan Council has been preparing for a number of months for a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit by assessing the risks it may pose to its services. Although there are many unknowns, we are confident that we've identified the main potential risks and are putting in place plans to mitigate these.

We have a lead Brexit officer, Professor Kate Ardern, who is also the Director of Public Health at the council. Professor Ardern is liaising regularly with the government and with colleagues at a Greater Manchester and regional level to ensure preparations are co-ordinated.

We will be communicating key information to residents and businesses, in co-operation with the government, as Brexit nears.


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