The Government has announced the launch of a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund, intended to help SMEs with the new rules that apply to trading with the EU following the end of the Brexit transition period.
The fund offers grants worth up to £2,000 to enable businesses who trade only with the EU and who are, therefore, new to importing and exporting to access support, including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading with the EU.
This includes training on:
- How to complete customs declarations
- How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
- Specific import and export related issues, including VAT, excise and rules of origin.
Additionally, the grant can be put towards professional advice relating to meeting customs, excise, import VAT and safety and security declaration requirements.
Businesses are eligible for the fund if they:
- have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting an application or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status;
- have not failed to meet tax or customs obligations in the past;
- have no more than 500 employees;
- have turnover of no more than £100 million; and
- import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU or between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
They must also meet one of the following conditions:
- Complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations for their own goods; or
- Use someone else to complete import or export declarations but need additional capability to effectively import or export.
Details of how to apply are expected in the coming weeks.
Between April and July this year, new important control measures will be introduced in three stages, after which businesses will need to complete import declarations. The new funding will assist businesses in preparing for these changes.