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A British government program designed to help small businesses deal with Brexit-related interruptions and paperwork only awarded them one-third of the total funding because of complaints that its complexity prevented companies from applying.
The ministers initiated SME Brexit Support Fund In February, to support small exporters who are struggling to cope with the additional cost of selling goods outside the EU single market, the UK left the EU single market on January 1.
The government provides each company with up to 2,000 pounds of funds to pay for actual support for imports and exports, such as handling new customs, rules of origin and value-added tax rules. Pots worth 20 million pounds can help up to 10,000 small companies.
However, according to official data, only 4,376 companies received approximately 6.8 million pounds in grants, complaining about their complexity and the ease of access for small businesses with no professional trading experience. A total of 5,414 companies applied.
Labour MP Hilary Benn (Hilary Benn) disclosed these figures in a report. Parliamentary question, Indicating that the applicants only received an average of £1,555 instead of the maximum available amount of £2,000.
Benn is the co-chair of the UK Trade and Commerce Council, A cross-party group of members of Congress and business leaders, Said that the government’s support program seems “more like an obstacle course, which prevents applications by allowing small and medium-sized enterprises to skip too many circles for very small returns.”
He added: “We have heard first-hand testimony from companies that have continued to face serious difficulties since leaving the EU. If the government really wants to support them, they must conduct another round of tenders through simplified application procedures and larger grants. “
The management of the fund was initiated by Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove and aims to help companies “seize a completely independent global trade opportunity available to the UK” and is supervised by the following institutions: PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Best for British, the secretariat of the British Trade and Commerce Council, stated that there are 600,000 exporting SMEs in the UK that can benefit from the plan.
The application for the program ended last month. Benn has sent a letter to the government urging ministers to increase support for businesses by expanding the fund.
Craig Beaumont, head of external affairs for the Small Business Federation, said that small businesses encountered difficulties in the first round of applications, “because it is not a small business-friendly and easy-to-use website — but a repurposed website. The application of customs intermediary, navigating without knowledge is confusing”.
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The FSB also called for a second round of streamlining the fund. “It is vital that it makes sense outside of HMRC, because this undermines the fact that the grant can be used for things outside of customs, such as training and technology,” Beaumont said. This money can be used for training and professional advice.
Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for British, said: “After rushing into an agreement with the European Union, which lacks parliamentary oversight, SMEs are facing low costs, heavy bureaucracy and interrupted supply lines. If the government does not With practical actions, small businesses may fall into the abyss from the loopholes in this transaction.”
The UK Revenue and Customs Service stated that it has carried out extensive work to encourage small companies to complete their applications. He added that it encourages groups such as the FSB and the British Chamber of Commerce to advertise the fund with their members.
“For those who apply but are not eligible, we will continue to provide support through regular communication, webinars and guidance,” HMRC said.
As the fund manager PricewaterhouseCoopers is still processing applications, the number of applications may rise further.