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UK launches Brexit Support Fund for small businesses amid border disruption

By Huw Hughes

12 Feb 2021

Business

The UK government has announced a new 20 million pound fund to help small and medium-sized businesses deal with changes to trade rules with the EU.

The Brexit Support Fund will help businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the block, cabinet office minister Michael Gove said Friday. It will also help businesses prepare for new import controls which come into force from April and July.

Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to 2,000 pounds to pay for practical support for importing and exporting.

It comes amid mounting criticism from businesses over new border disruption that the UK’s ports have faced since leaving the EU at the beginning of the year.

“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,” Gove said.

“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.”

Earlier this week, the chairman of Britain’s largest sportswear retailer, JD Sports, described Brexit as being “considerably worse” than expected so far and said the company is considering setting up a distribution centre in the EU to avoid new tariffs.

Talking to BBC Radio, Peter Cowgill said new red-tape and delays related to shipping products to the EU have resulted in “double-digit millions” in extra costs.

Photo credit: Pexels, Dominika Gregušová