Brexit support grants unveiled

HMRC has announced details of a £20m fund to help small and medium-sized businesses adjust to post-Brexit trading arrangements with the EU.

The SME Brexit Support Fund will provide financial assistance to small firms who trade only with the EU and require practical advice to prepare for new import controls coming into force in April and July. Firms established in the UK for at least 12 months, with no more than 500 employees and an annual turnover of up to £100 million will be eligible for the grants worth up to £2,000.

Firms have reported a range of problems relating to new arrangements introduced since ratification of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. A British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey conducted between 18–31 January, for instance, found that around half of UK exporters faced difficulties trading goods with the EU.

Commenting on the new grants, the BCC’s Head of Economics Suren Thiru said, “This is a welcome first step in dealing with some of the major issues that small businesses trading with the EU are facing. With their finances already under a significant squeeze, firms, particularly those which export, are inevitably encountering difficulties in adapting to the complexities of the new arrangements.”

All details are correct at the time of writing (11 March 2021)