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Funding available for small and medium-sized businesses in Cumbria

Alex Nicholson, indirect tax director at Armstrong Watson

Small and medium sized businesses in Cumbria who trade in goods with the European Union are being urged to apply for newly-announced funding to ensure they can continue trading effectively now that the UK has left the Single Market and Customs Union.

Armstrong Watson, which has offices in Carlisle, Penrith, Cockermouth and Kendal, say the Government’s new SME Brexit Support Fund is a great opportunity for local businesses to address challenges posed by complex new trade processes and thrive in the post-Brexit world.

Business can soon apply for up to £2,000 from the £20m fund – set up to enable businesses to prepare for significant new import controls which will be introduced by July – to cover the costs of training or advice.

Alex Nicholson, indirect tax director at Armstrong Watson, who has been delivering Brexit training to businesses, said: “Although a deal was agreed between the UK and the EU, this does not avoid the additional complexities and costs of moving goods across borders.

“In reality, the situation is more complex than a “no-deal” outcome, as businesses must now understand and apply complex Rules of Origin in order to trade Duty-free with the EU.

“Furthermore, they are also expected to navigate the raft of costly and time consuming declarations which must be filed correctly and on time in order to move goods smoothly and avoid penalties.

“This announcement is hugely significant for businesses who have never had to deal with these complex issues before, and will provide vital funding to get the help they need to interpret and implement the rules.

“It is an opportunity for them to access the next level of support and explore how best to organise their operations and supply chains to address the new challenges and thrive in the post-Brexit world.”

UK businesses importing or exporting goods to and from the EU, or moving goods between the UK and Northern Ireland, with up to 500 employees and no more than £100m annual turnover, are eligible to apply.

The grants can be used to fund advice around completing customs declarations; managing customs processes; using customs software; exploring Duty reliefs and analysing the all-important new rules of origin.

The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the financial support and said it would make a “significant difference” to those faced with the new customs processes.

Any businesses who are interested in Brexit training can contact Alex on 0808 144 5575 or email [email protected]