Government announces £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

11 Feb 2021


The government has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses who trade exclusively with the EU in adjusting to new customs, rules of origin and VAT rules.

Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support and training related to importing and exporting, and the funding will also help businesses to prepare for the implementation of import controls which come into force from April and July.

Who can apply?

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 move 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)

Commenting on the announcement of the fund, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, 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.

“It is now crucial that the grants provide sufficient funds to make a real difference and the government should stand ready to increase their size if needed. We will continue working closely with government to make sure this scheme is delivered as quickly and smoothly as possible for firms still adapting to the new EU trading arrangements and the impact of the pandemic.”

Applications for the SME Brexit Support Fund will open soon. We will provide details of how to apply when more information is announced.