May 27, 2020 / 2:18 PM / 3 days ago

UK can help companies prepare for Brexit and COVID-19, minister says

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove gestures as he holds the Daily Covid-19 Digital News Conference with NHS Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis (not pictured) to update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain May 3, 2020. Pippa Fowles /10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government is working with businesses to help them prepare for the departure from the European Union even as it helps them cope with the coronavirus pandemic, cabinet office minister Michael Gove said on Wednesday.

“We are not considering an implementation phase,” he told a parliamentary committee, adding that staying within the purview of the EU would mean additional costs for taxpayers.

“What we will do is make sure that businesses adjust appropriately to the situation on the 1st of January once we’re outside the Customs Union and the Single Market.

“Obviously we’ve all been preoccupied by the COVID pandemic ... it is also the case though that we can step up our engagement with business in advance of December 31.”

Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison

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