£20m SME Brexit Support Fund launched

SMEs who trade only with the EU and so are new to the importing and exporting regime will be able to apply for grants of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support.

The grants, available through the SME Brexit Support Fund, will help fund training and professional advice, to ensure these companies can continue trading effectively with the EU.

The move follows consultation with individual businesses, leading business organisations and trade associations from across the UK. The fund will be administered through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme and will open for applications in March 2021.

Mike Cherry, National Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, described the announcement as “very significant”. He said: “Small businesses, often with few cash reserves, are for the first time facing complex new customs processes, VAT requirements and rules of origin.

“While many have come to FSB for help, we have been asking for proper financial assistance of this scale, so that a cash-strapped small business can afford to buy-in expertise, training and practical support. The new fund will make a significant difference.”

In order to apply businesses must:

  • be established in the UK for at least 12 months, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.
  • have not previously failed to meet any tax or customs obligations.
  • have no more than 500 employees and less than £100m turnover.
  • import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU or Northern Ireland.
  • either complete or intend to complete import or export declarations internally; or use someone else to do this, but require additional capability internally.
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