Three things you might want to know about the government’s preparations for a No Deal Brexit

13 September 2018

In the last few weeks the government has published a range of documents with information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. A number of new documents came out today, and we’ve picked out just three things that could directly affect you.

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New driving licences

At the moment, holding a British driving licence allows you to drive in the EU for both work and leisure purposes.

But if there’s no Brexit deal, you may need to get what’s called an International Driving Permit (IDP) alongside your driving licence to drive in the EU.

To make it more confusing, there are actually two types of IDP—one that applies to Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus and lasts for 12 months, and one that lasts for three years and applies everywhere else in the EU, plus Norway and Switzerland.

So if you wanted to drive down to Madrid, through France, you might need both types.

They cost £5.50 each.

If you wanted to move to an EU country after Brexit you wouldn’t have the automatic right to exchange a British driving licence for one of that country as is now the case. That means you might have to retake your driving test.

Roaming fees

EU legislation means you’re charged the same fees for using your phone in the rest of the EU as you would be at home. The legislation also limits excess data charges to €50. As part of Brexit, Theresa May has said we’re leaving the EU’s “Digital Single Market”, meaning we will no longer be covered by these laws (after the end of the implementation period).

If we agree a free trade deal with the EU, similar regulations on roaming charges could be part of this. But this isn’t guaranteed, and depends on the exact terms of the deal.

If we leave the EU without a deal, it would be harder to replicate the current arrangement, as WTO rules mean that deals on roaming policy have to be part of a wider trade agreements. The government says it would legislate to continue capping excess data charges, but it can’t make an agreement on tariff-free roaming (texts, calls, data). In this scenario, whether or not roaming charges are reintroduced would come down to the commercial decisions of mobile network operators.

Dominic Raab today said Vodafone and Three have “publicly said that they wouldn’t introduce any roaming fees for UK consumers travelling on the continent”. This is correct for Three, but Vodafone has not explicitly ruled it out. A Vodafone UK spokesperson told us: “We very much hope arrangements can be made which will ensure we can continue to offer UK consumers our Roam-free service in more destinations than anyone else”

We’ve previously explained this in more detail here, although the quotes from companies may not reflect their current positions, as they were given six months ago.

But GDPR will still apply

One thing the government says won’t change following a no-deal Brexit are the standards of data protection.

That means we’ll retain all the new rights we got after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force earlier this year. That includes things like the “right to be forgotten”.

Even though GDPR is European law, it will be incorporated into British law as a consequence of the EU Withdrawal Act.  

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