Preparing for Brexit

What is Brexit?

Brexit is the short way of referring to Britain leaving the European Union. A referendum was held on Thursday 23rd June, 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave was voted for by 51.9% to 48.1%.

What do I need to know about Brexit?

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on or before 31st January 2020. The UK could leave with a deal with the EU or it could leave without a deal being agreed. You may need to take steps to prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU especially if you are an EU national, run a business which trades with the EU or are planning to travel to the EU after the January deadline. The Government has launched a ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ public information campaign.

You can also sign up to email updates (external link) to get automatic notifications.

EU Citizens living in Wigan Borough

If you’re an EU citizen you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30th June, 2021. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status. The Settlement Scheme allows you and your close family members to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

You can apply now if you’re eligible. The deadline for applying is 30th June 2021.

Settled status means you will remain eligible for:

  • Public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • Public funds and pensions
  • British citizenship, if you want to apply and meet the requirements.

If someone who is eligible for status is not in the UK when we leave the EU, they will still be free to enter the UK as they are now.

Further details can be found in our free movement factsheet (external link), or you can ask a question (external link).

Citizens Advice (external link) are providing residents advice and support in applying for settled or pre-settled status. They have a drop-in service at Wigan Life Centre (Monday-Thursday, 9am-3pm and Friday, 9am-1.30pm) and Leigh Life Centre (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9am-3pm). 

Based on your circumstances a further appointment with a specialist advisor may be necessary, which will be arranged at the drop-in.

How will Brexit affect my business?

We've put together a Brexit support page that includes advice on preparations you may need to take depending on your sector, what’s changing in your industry, information on specific rules and regulations and links to government tools and resources to help you prepare your business. 


There will be changes to travelling to the EU if the UK leaves without a deal. The Government is advising that passports should have at least six months left. There will be no immediate changes if the UK agrees a deal - see visit Europe after Brexit for further details (external link).

Driving in the EU

How is Wigan Council preparing for Brexit?

Wigan Council has been preparing for a number of months for a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit by assessing the risks it may pose to its services. Although there are many unknowns, we are confident that we've identified the main potential risks and are putting in place plans to mitigate these.

We have a lead Brexit officer, Professor Kate Ardern, who is also the Director of Public Health at the council. Professor Ardern is liaising regularly with the government and with colleagues at a Greater Manchester and regional level to ensure preparations are co-ordinated.

We will be communicating key information to residents and businesses, in co-operation with the government, as Brexit nears.

© Wigan Council