What may have seemed a quiet few weeks has actually been fermenting political change. On Brexit, we are currently stuck in the ‘doldrums’ of parliamentary indecision, but at some point soon a storm will blow the UK towards one of three outcomes: no-deal, a deal with the EU, or no Brexit. The upcoming European parliament elections may be the catalyst for this.
Businesses should be prepared for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. No-deal remains possible and the chances of no-deal then are higher than they were in the run up to the initial Brexit deadline of 31 March. If you haven’t got a contingency plan for no-deal Brexit, use this time to develop one. And if you had a no-deal plan for March, keep it updated and make sure you know what you need to do and when to escalate preparations.
There are a number of financial assistance vouchers and grants for local businesses for Brexit planning, which mean your planning does not need to be a sunk cost.
- Invest NI offer a Brexit preparation grant for their existing customers: https://www.investni.com/get-ready-for-brexit/brexit-preparation-grant.html. The grant offers financial support up to a maximum of £50,000 at a rate of up to 50%. The grant provides financial assistance to prepare for the changes and challenges presented by Brexit. It can be used to help develop contingency plans to mitigate the impact of Brexit and assess Brexit-related risks that could impact the business such as: supply chains and procurement; customs, tariffs and taxation; export market opportunities; access to skills and labour; contractual arrangements; and transport and logistics. Eligible support includes up to a maximum £25,000 for specialist consultancy fees for Brexit-related activities – this could be quite broad.
- Inter Trade Ireland launched an additional ‘Brexit Implementation’ voucher in March 2019. This voucher is available for any businesses who have already claimed the initial ‘Start to Plan’ voucher and are now seeking financial assistance for their plans. The new voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5625 (inclusive of VAT) with Inter Trade Ireland paying 50 per cent. There are currently no rules outlining what services can be claimed, although Inter Trade Ireland expect services such as training, new processes, software and applications for Customs reliefs etc.
- The ‘Start to Plan’ voucher is also still available and provides companies with 100% financial support up to £2000/€2250 (inclusive of VAT) towards professional advice in relation to Brexit matters. The same criteria for claiming applies for both vouchers - the company must be an SME (Turnover <€50M and <250 employees) and for ROI companies they must have a tax clearance certificate. We are approved service provider for both grants.
Advice related to Brexit often has a wider benefit to the business and may be relevant even if Brexit does not occur. For example, considering your skills and labour requirements may be relevant even if you still have access to EU workers, and a customs or supply chain review could benefit your international trade even if the UK remains in the EU customs union.
Businesses are often able to identify ‘no-regrets’ decisions they would like to take regardless of the Brexit outcome.
How we can help
We offer an interactive half-day Brexit workshop designed to create practical tailored plans for any eventuality. Drawing on political insights, professional service expertise (in areas like tax, customs, people and supply chain) and a wealth of client experience we help businesses to analyse the impact on each aspect of their business, identify ‘no-regrets’ decisions and build a contingency planning roadmap.
Whilst each business will need a tailored plan, we've uncovered some common focus areas for organisations in the run up to Brexit - compliance, continuity and cost [ 451 kb ]. The financial assistance above may be used on this advice.
October will be here sooner than you think, so make sure you take advantage of the generous support while it remains available.
If you would like our help, please get in touch with your usual Grant Thornton contact