Government has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
SMEs who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes will be able to apply for grants of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support and professional advice so they can adjust to new customs procedures, rules of origin, and VAT rules.
This fund is available to business with up to 500 employees, and no more than £100 million annual turnover to ensure they can continue to trade effectively. The eligibility criteria are that the business must:
- be established in the UK
- have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status
- not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations
- import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Applications for the fund are now open on this link. Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.
Note on import controls
Government has introduced new import controls in three stages up to 1 July 2021 to allow traders and hauliers time to adjust to new processes. This means businesses do not have to complete new import declarations for up to six months, unless they are moving controlled goods.
For additional help, there are also regular government webinars and helplines – see details of available support here.