Since Brexit, trading with EU countries has become much more complex. New regulations have hit many industries, notably the seafood sector. Many firms have seen exports held up at customs. Trading now involves a lot more admin and red tape. Yet, according to one survey, most UK SMEs don’t expect trade with Europe to shrink because of Brexit. The reality is that most businesses are learning to adapt. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. For this reason, the Government has now launched a new £20 million Brexit Support Fund.
What is the Brexit Support Fund?
The government first announced the new Brexit Support Fund back in February. It is intended to support SMEs as they adjust to ‘new customs, rules of origin and VAT rules when trading with the EU’.
The Brexit Support Fund allows small businesses to apply for grants of up to £2,000. You can use the money to pay for practical support, such as training or professional advice, which will help you to continue trading with the European Union.
Who is eligible for a grant?
Your business is eligible for a Brexit Support Fund grant if it meets the following criteria.
- It is established in the UK
- It has either been established in the UK for 12+ months or holds Authorised Economic Operator status
- Has under 500 employees and less than £100 million turnover
- Has not failed to meet tax or customs obligations before
- Imports or exports goods between Great Britain and the EU or between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Your business also needs to do either of the following two things:
- Complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations for its goods internally
- Use a third party to complete the declarations but also require extra internal capability to import or export effectively (this could include advice on rules of origin or dealing with a supply chain).
When and how can I apply to the Brexit Support Fund?
The Brexit Support Fund opened on 15th March 2021. It will remain open until 30 June 2021, but will close earlier if all the funding has been allocated. Given the finite number of grants available, it’s a good idea to apply sooner rather than later.
What other help is available?
There is a wealth of helpful resources online. The government’s Brexit Checker tool is particularly useful and generates a list of actions you need to take. There are also various Brexit transition helplines covering everything from customs declarations and duties and tariffs to fishing catch certificates and European timber regulations. You can find a list here.
Finally, we regularly post Brexit advice on the THP blog, so be sure to visit regularly or subscribe to our weekly newsletter (see the subscription box on this page). If you’re a THP client, we’d also be very happy to give you personal advice. Simply get in touch with your account manager.
About Ben Locker
Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.