Government announces £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund
On Thursday 11 February 2021, the Government announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support fund.
The fund will support small and medium sized businesses in adjusting to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU. As part of the Brexit Taskforce, we have lobbied for additional support for small businesses.
Mike Cherry, National Chair, welcomed the news:
Today’s announcement is very significant. 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, and we are pleased that Ministers have really engaged with us on this, and come up with an excellent response.
Applications for the scheme will be run through HMRC, and the scheme will launch in March 2021.
Guidance for the scheme has been published, here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/grants-to-help-small-and-medium-sized-businesses-new-to-importing-or-exporting
The UK left the EU single market, customs union and VAT area on 31 December, and from 1 January 2021 the provisions of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) now apply to trade between the UK and the EU. New rules now apply in areas including trade in goods and services, immigration, and travel.
Under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU single market rules for goods and agriculture, and will continue to apply rules of the EU’s Union Customs Code, this will mean some changes to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
We will continue to update our Transition Hub to provide information and guidance on the new trading arrangements to help small businesses adapt. We will also continue to signpost you to other practical information to keep you informed and up to date.
What action can I take now?
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The Frontier Worker Permit Scheme
The Home Office has launched the new frontier worker permit scheme. This means frontier workers working in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 can now apply for a frontier worker permit.
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From 1 July 2021, a new frontier worker permit is required by those who work in the UK but live abroad. Find out who might need a permit and how to apply with our guide.
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