Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the Government is "committed" to negotiating a new free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU before the end of the year, but insisted "things will change" for businesses and individuals as they trade with and travel to the EU, whatever the outcome of the talks. Speaking in the House of Commons Mr Gove revealed that 43 percent of businesses believe the period will be extended despite the government saying it will not happen. He added that only 24 percent of businesses are ready for the end of the Brexit transition period - which could still result in no deal.
Mr Gove told the Commons a Cabinet committee charged with making preparations for the end of the Brexit transition meets "almost daily" and has met a total of 136 times so far.
He said: "We also need businesses to prepare. The consequences of a lack of business preparedness will be not just economic opportunities missed for those companies that don't prepare, but potentially much wider disruption."
Mr Gove added: "It is important that we as parliamentarians all understand that and that we all take action to prepare.
"Whether we secure a good FTA before January or not, whether we get a Canada-style deal or exit on Australian terms, we will have left the single market and customs union - and that fact means adjustments for businesses trading with the EU, changes for citizens travelling to the EU and new responsibilities for Government in both scenarios."
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Michael Gove has urged businesses to prepare for a no deal Brexit
He added: "The consequences of a lack of business preparedness will be not just economic opportunities missed for those companies who don't prepare, but potentially much wider disruption."
Mr Gove reiterated that the British people voted for change in the EU referendum.
He told MPs: "Now the Government is taking all these steps to help businesses prepare because change requires preparation and change is what the British people voted for.
"Because, outside the single market and the customs union, the UK can exercise all the freedoms and flexibilities of a truly sovereign state."
Mr Gove said leaving the EU will allow the UK to "legislate more accountably and strengthen our democracy".
He added: "These are great prizes and the British people voted in the 2016 referendum and the 2019 general election to make sure they were delivered.
"This Government is committed to honouring those democratic choices."
It comes as Mr Johnson's controversial Brexit legislation enabling the UK to break international law cleared a major Commons hurdle after MPs backed a Government compromise.
Tory backbench pressure forced the Prime Minister to agree to amend the UK Internal Market Bill to give MPs a vote before the Government can use powers which would breach the Brexit divorce deal brokered with Brussels last year.
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Members of Stormont's economy committee quizzed Aodhan Connolly on Wednesday.
He said the impact of a no-deal Brexit depended on whether some aspects were agreed or nothing at all.
"A complete no deal is the difference between a paper wall down the Irish Sea and a brick wall down the Irish Sea."
He added it would be near-impossible for firms to be ready for a crash-out exit in time.