The application process for the SME (Small and medium-sized enterprise) Brexit Support Fund is now open. Announced by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, this £20million package will be made available for businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.
The funding package is intended for small to medium sized businesses who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes. These businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to £2,000, which will be used to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU.
What Is The SME Brexit Support Fund?
The SME Brexit Support fund is designed to help businesses who trade in the EU to navigate the uncertain teething problems of Brexit. Since the UK left the EU officially on 1st January 2021, the importing/exporting processes and logistics have changed considerably for many businesses trading with other EU countries.
You can use the grant for training on:
- How to complete customs declarations.
- How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems.
- Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin.
This follows the government setting out a new timetable for introducing import border control processes to enable UK businesses to focus on their recovery. Full import border control processes will now be introduced on 1 January 2022, six months later than originally planned.
Who Will The SME Brexit Support Fund Affect?
To be eligible, businesses must import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU or move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Your business must:
- Be established in the UK.
- Have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status.
- Not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations.
- Have no more than 500 employees.
- Have no more than £100 million turnover.
- Import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Your business must also either:
- Complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations internally for its own goods.
- Use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import or export (such as advice on rules of origin or advice on dealing with a supply chain).
Why Are The Government Introducing The SME Brexit Support Fund?
As previously stated, with the uncertainty of Brexit regulations which has been fuelled by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the government are providing the SME Brexit Support Fund. This scheme is to aid businesses in the changes and details of how to properly export and import from overseas post-Brexit.
The announcement of the funding is attributed to the 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.
Michael Gove states, “The government has listened carefully to the issues raised by the business community through the Brexit Business Taskforce and that’s why we are bringing forward this financial support to help small businesses adapt to the changes to our trading relationship with the EU. This new targeted funding will see small businesses get more of the practical support they need to adjust to the new processes and prepare for further changes as we implement our own import controls in April and July. Together we will seize new opportunities available to a fully independent global trading United Kingdom.”
How Can I Apply For The SME Brexit Support Fund?
You can apply for the SME Brexit Support Fund by clicking here. If you require any other information on the eligibility of the funding then check out the dedicated government page outlining who can apply and how to apply.
We hope this has outlined to you exactly what the SME Brexit Support Fund is and whether your business can apply for it. If you require any more information on any government Brexit or COVID-19 loans and grants, or anything accounting related for that matter, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at Nordens where one of our trusted advisors would be happy talking you through your query.