£20m Brexit support fund for SMEs open for applications
Small businesses can now (15 March 2021) apply for grants of up to £2,000 to help them adapt to new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU.
The £20m Brexit Support Fund for SMEs gives traders access to practical assistance, including training on new customs procedures, rules of origin and VAT.
Katherine Green and Sophie DeanDirectors General, Borders and Trade, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said:
We recognize that the changes to customs rules have been difficult for small and micro businesses, and that’s why we encourage business owners to apply for help through the Brexit Support Fund for SMEs.
We don’t take it for granted that the UK’s small businesses – from designers creating bespoke handmade pieces from their kitchen tables to those selling sweets – are essential to the growth and prosperity of our economy, so we look forward to supporting them with practical help. to do business with our European partners, in addition to a wide range of government support available.
Small and medium-sized businesses that trade only with the EU – and are therefore new to the import and export process – are encouraged to apply for grants.
The bottom, announced in February by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, is the latest round of government support for UK trade.
To be eligible, businesses must import or export goods between Britain and the EU, or transport goods between Britain and Northern Ireland.
This follows the government putting in place a new timetable for the introduction of import border control processes to allow UK businesses to focus on their recovery. Full border import control processes will now be introduced on January 1, 2022, six months later than originally planned.
Mike Cherry, National President of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
The vast majority of UK small businesses doing business overseas trade with the EU. Not only are they trying to stay afloat as lockdowns gradually ease, but they now have new documents and unknown costs to navigate when buying or selling in Europe.
That’s why we asked the government for targeted funding to help meet these new demands, and it’s great to see that this funding is in place today.
We encourage all eligible small businesses to take a look and apply for this new source of help.
Jon Geldart, CEO of the Institute of Directors, said:
Small businesses have long needed help managing the myriad of new requirements that come with changing our trade agreements with the EU, and that need has only grown in the current adjustment phase.
That’s why the Institute of Directors has campaigned for so long to help businesses pay the cost of accessing the professional advice they need, and we applaud the government for stepping in to do so.
After information on the Brexit Support Fund for SMEs, including details on how to applycan be found on GOV.UK.
In addition to this new support, the government:
- meet with businesses from specific sectors across all parts of the UK each week through the Brexit Business Taskforce chaired by Michael Gove – the latest meeting focused specifically on business in Wales
- leading the Seafood Export Task Force, which meets twice a week to address issues raised by the industry, and a new Scottish Seafood Export Task Force
- offering support to businesses transporting goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland through its Trader Helpdesk
- providing many help lines that companies can contact if they need further information – this includes a HMRC Import and Export Inquiries Service which is available by telephone on 0300 322 9434 or via live chat
- run regularly webinars with policy experts
- providing the Brexit Checker Tool on GOV.UK which gives businesses a personalized list of actions they need to take
- provide personalized support to exporters via a network of approximately 300 international trade advisers
- lead a specific task force working with businesses in Northern Ireland and Great Britain on matters relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol
- runs a range of other support schemes, including a guarantee scheme aimed at SMEs, which means the government can provide an 80% guarantee on financial support from lenders to help cover general export costs, up to a value of £25 million