The Government has announced a Brexit Support Fund to help businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin and VAT rules when trading with the EU.
Small- to medium-sized enterprises currently trading only with the EU are likely to be new to importing and exporting processes and may need extra help to navigate the requirements. Grants of up to £2,000 for each trader will be made available to pay for practical support, including training and professional advice, to ensure they can continue trading effectively within the EU.
The announcement follows extensive engagement with individual businesses, leading business organisations and trade associations from across all parts of the UK, including through the Brexit Business Taskforce.
Chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP, weekly meetings of the Taskforce provided an opportunity to identify challenges and find solutions to outstanding issues. To provide SMEs with additional support, the fund will be administered through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme and will open for applications in March.
It has been set up to help businesses prepare for the new import controls coming into force from April and July, as set out in the Border Operating Model. The new import controls will be introduced in three stages up to July 1, 2021, to allow traders and hauliers time to adjust. This means businesses do not have to complete new import declarations for up to six months, unless they are moving controlled goods.
Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre commented: “We welcome the Brexit Support Fund and we hope it will be a simple application and approval process.”