The United Kingdom will be leaving the EU on 31 October 2019. This will bring important changes to doing business.
Help is at hand from across government to provide practical, tailored advice and support. You can start by visiting gov.uk/brexit and answering 14 questions. This will bring up online advice specific to you and your business that is designed to help you take the necessary steps to prepare. You will also find a wealth of useful information.
Brexit business readiness events
Last week saw the start of a series of more than 30 Brexit roadshows across the UK. The focus is on practical preparations, not politics.
I was pleased to roll my sleeves up and support the very first one in Northampton, followed by another in Nottingham. They bring together advisors from government departments including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Home Office, HMRC and the local growth hub to provide keynote addresses, advice stands, resources and in-depth sessions on getting ready for Brexit.
You can find advice on issues as diverse as importing and exporting, transferring data, employing EU citizens and support that is available in your local area. All you need to do is find a venue near you and sign up via the website.
Support for businesses
So far hundreds of businesses have attended the roadshows, with several venues now fully booked, and many more daily are engaging with tackling their preparedness.
In addition, there is a vast array of support opportunities on offer by government, including:
- Business Ministers hosting national and regional round table events to engage with businesses on a regular basis
- a new Business Finance Council, chaired by the Business Secretary, bringing together leading lenders to ensure small businesses get the working capital and investment they need
- £1.3 billion available to lenders in guarantee schemes through the government-owned British Business Bank, so they can enable their SME customers to invest in capital, increase export capabilities and manage cashflow - and the British Business Bank is currently supporting over £6.6 billion of finance to almost 90,000 smaller businesses nationwide
- an auto-enrolment system to give 88,000 VAT-registered businesses an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) trading number, so they can continue to trade with their customers and suppliers in the EU after 31 October - for more information visit GOV.UK and search 'VAT after Brexit'
- the largest single communications and engagement campaign undertaken by HMG - the campaign sets out what all members of the public and business owners need to know to get ready for Brexit
- £10 million to support trade associations and other business organisations help companies prepare for Brexit - do check in with your trade association or professional body to see if they are offering any training or advice through this scheme
So my message for businesses is clear: check what you need to do. Make sure you are prepared and Get ready for Brexit.