Jeremy Miles, the Counsel General and Minister for European Transition, said that while there will be significant changes under all possible scenarios – which could have detrimental short and long-term impacts for our people, communities, and businesses – the Welsh Government has worked hard throughout the past year to prepare for, and as far as possible mitigate that disruption.
Today the Welsh Government published a new plan setting out some of that preparedness work, and giving an indication of the areas where uncertainty remains and where the UK government and other stakeholders need to focus their attention, ahead of the end of the transition period.
The End of Transition Action Plan describes the actions the Welsh Government has been taking, both independently and jointly with UK government, to ensure that Wales is as prepared as possible for any outcome.
Jeremy Miles said:
“With just 50 days to go until we begin a new relationship with the European Union it is vital that we all take responsibility for ensuring we are as prepared as feasibly possible, given the pressures both of the limited time remaining, and the necessity of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In preparing for end of transition, we have continued to act in the best interests of our nation; working with local partners, businesses and communities across Wales to support them as they get ready for what comes next. There is uncertainty and a degree of anxiety about the next stage, but I want to reassure people in Wales that the Welsh Government continues to do all we can to help you through the changes that are coming.
“But we need to recognise the very real limits of what we can do to minimise the full impact of leaving the transition period without a trade deal or with only a thin deal. And some of what we need to do depends on actions which the UK government is responsible for.
“We have known since early this year that the UK government has been working on priority projects for UK-wide preparations. However, we did not see any meaningful details of these projects until June. The months we’ve lost to prepare as a result, simply cannot be regained.
“On top of this, the UK government refused – despite pressure from ourselves and many other organisations –to request an extension to the transition, despite both sides facing the unprecedented pressures of the global pandemic. This refusal has now put the UK in a position where it is having to make complex, radical decisions about its future when society is already facing physical, emotional and economic turmoil.
“It didn’t have to be this way – the UK government’s approach has been dictated by short-term political considerations rather than the long-term interests of the UK.
“We continue to urge the UK government to change course and to prioritise jobs, livelihoods and economic security.
“The turmoil from Covid has been forced upon us all. But to compound this with the upheaval of leaving the transition period with no deal or a thin deal, would be a matter of political choice by the UK government.”