Businesses in north told to contact Dublin government to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Almost half of Northern Ireland businesses have postponed or cancelled investment plans due to Brexit, according to a new survey.

The British government has warned firms trading across the border they need to "consider whether you will need advice from the Irish government about preparations you need to make" in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The advice was contained in one of 24 technical papers released today outlining preparations and scenarios that could play out if no Brexit deal can be agreed before Britain leaves the EU in March.

They form the first wave of a series of releases that will see more than 80 papers in the public domain by the end of September.

The key points from the first set of papers and measures announced on Thursday by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab are:

- The removal of an EU ban on credit and debit card surcharges is "likely" to increase the cost of shopping.

- UK citizens living in Europe face the possibility of losing access to their pension income and other financial services.

- Consumers would face another potential cost increase when online shopping, with parcels arriving in the UK no longer liable for Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) on VAT.

- Businesses exporting to Europe may have to "renegotiate commercial terms" to reflect customs and other tariff changes.

- The firms may also need to pay out for new software or hire "a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider" to help them deal with new requirements.

- Companies exporting across the Irish border should "consider whether you will need advice from the Irish government about preparations you need to make".

- Importing nuclear materials from the EU may require a licence.

- Medicines and other medical products will have to go through "national assessment" before they receive market authorisation to be sold in the UK.

- NHS patients may face delays accessing innovative treatments.

- Cigarette packet health warnings would change as the current images used are copyrighted to the EU.

- Organic food producers face a "cliff edge" of exporting to the EU only if certified by a body approved by the European Commission, with certification taking up to nine months after Brexit.

- The British government is planning to recruit an extra 9,000 staff into the civil service to deal with Brexit, in addition to 7,000 currently working on preparations.

- The British government will pay for British aid organisation programmes whose funding could be ended in the event of no deal.

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