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Stepping up preparations for a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit

With the increasing probability of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without a deal on the 31st of October, we recommend all our members should step up their preparations for this possibility. 

At the foot of this article, you will find links to key sources of ‘no deal’ preparedness information and support. Over the coming weeks, we will run a short series of blogs highlighting topics of particular importance.

To make sure that we are right up to date, and understand your needs and views regarding Brexit, please answer three quick questions in our anonymous Snap Brexit Poll by next Friday (16th August): 

We continue to represent the interests of our members and the wider digital technologies sector in Scotland to the Scottish and UK Governments and Parliaments. We are planning a series of meetings with policy makers to reinforce this over the next couple of months. The four strategic priorities we identified after surveying members following the EU referendum remain valid and we are calling on policy makers to take them into account when deciding on leaving arrangements. The four points are:

  • People – The digital technologies industry is already facing a skills shortage and increasing barriers to non-UK talent risks will aggravate the situation and stifle growth. ScotlandIS is therefore calling for continued easy and cost-effective access to workers from within and outside the EU. 
  • Market access – Continued access to EU markets is crucial, through EU Single Market membership or, failing that, a comprehensive free trade agreement covering services. This is not just important for our industry but also the sectors that our members supply with digital services and products. 
  • Regulations – Given that our industry is mainly trading in services, avoiding non-tariff barriers such as differing regulations is of particular importance. For example, the free flow of data between the UK and the EU is crucial for digital technologies businesses. This should be preserved with new regulatory solutions post-Brexit that do not put an undue bureaucratic burden on companies.
  • Research & academia – Continued access to EU research funding and cooperation as well as talented staff and students is required for Scotland’s universities to remain competitive in computing science and informatics. The success of the research base is essential for innovation and to ensure Scotland continues to produce cutting edge start-ups and spin-out companies for the future. 

In addition, we continue to have an opportunity to counter the effects of uncertainty and stimulate growth in our industry and the wider economy by making Scotland a more competitive and productive place to do business. As part of this, we have started the process of developing an export and internationalisation strategy for Scotland’s digital technologies industry. We want to actively support our members to unlock new opportunities in Europe and beyond and will consult you shortly on your priorities for such a strategy.

Key sources of ‘no deal’ preparedness information and support

Scottish Government and its agencies offer a self-assessment tool, access to a range of advisers, funding support and other services through .

The UK Government offers guidance on a variety of topics, including data, travel between the UK and the EU, copyright, services trade and EU funding programmes: .

The European Commission has published preparedness notices: The notices of the directorate generals Connect (CNECT) and Trade, as they cover topics such as ecommerce, network security, .eu domain names, VAT, import and export licences and others. 

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