After weeks of disruption at border crossings, ports and depot centres, and general uncertainty among importers and exporters, forcing some to pause UK-EU trading, the government announces a Brexit support grant for small businesses.
The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund was announced today by the Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and gives an opportunity to small cross-border traders to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to help them cover the costs of professional support for importing and exporting. The fund aims to prepare businesses for the customs clearance processes that will come into force from April and July. More details on the regulations can be found in the Border Operating Model.
SMEs need help with Brexit
As many businesses continued to struggle with the wave of red tape that Brexit has brought with itself, the UK government took steps to engage with those businesses and business associations to acknowledge their struggles. The weekly meetings of Brexit Business Taskforce, chaired by Michael Gove helped to identify several problems and suggested solutions for them. Thanks to the continued dialogue between the government and the small enterprises affected, the SME Brexit Support Fund has been put together and will be administered through the existing Customs Grant Scheme.
Since businesses that are not transporting controlled goods do not have to complete the new import declarations for up to six months, it is highly likely that when those are required from them later on in the year, they will struggle to cope with those new customs, rules of origin, and VAT import rules, just like those businesses that already have been exposed to the Brexit red tape from January 1st. Therefore, the new Brexit support grant aims to counteract that and will be available to apply for from March 2021.
“This new targeted funding will see small businesses get more of the practical support they need to adjust to the new processes and prepare for further changes as we implement our own import controls in April and July”, said Michael Gove when announcing the new support fund.
Small business associations welcome the Brexit support grant
All of the small business representatives that took part in the Brexit Business Taskforce meetings welcomed the £2,000 grants that will allow small businesses to adapt to the new trade environment.
“Smaller firms simply cannot manage many of the processes themselves and require experts across a range of areas to assist with trade continuity, and we commend this government for responding to our call”, said Allie Rennison, the Head of Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors.
In addition to the new support scheme, the government is engaged in a number of other initiatives, including Seafood Exports Working Group meetings, helplines for businesses, webinars with policy specialists and more. For an extensive list, please see the bottom of the press release announcing the £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund on the government website.
How can UK Customs Solutions help?
Our team of over 80 trained and experienced staff members creates an extension of our clients’ businesses and helps them trade smoothly even with higher admin demands when it comes to customs clearance declarations. UKCS does not only offer you customs clearance experts but supports your business with IT solutions that improve your overall business operations. Get in touch with us to find out how our friendly and dedicated team can help your business!