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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Government announces £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

Date: Thursday 18 February 2021

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

SMEs who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU. Businesses of up to 500 employees and a turnover of no more than £100 million are eligible to apply.

This announcement follows extensive engagement with individual businesses, leading business organisations and trade associations from across all parts of the UK, including through the Brexit Business Taskforce. Chaired by Michael Gove the weekly meetings provided an opportunity to identify challenges and find solutions to outstanding issues. To provide SMEs with additional support, the fund will be administered through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme and will open for applications next month.

It has been set up to support businesses prepare for the new import controls coming into force from April and July, as set out in the Border Operating Model. Having taken back control of the UK's borders, the government made the decision to introduce 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.

More information about the SME Brexit Support Fund can be found on GOV.UK.

For further sources of information relating to the import and export of goods to and from Europe, CLICK HERE. This includes links to a step-by-step guide to importing and exporting, details of markings for UK and Northern Ireland goods which are to be exported to Europe, and information on importing and then re-exporting goods to and from the EU.