The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has launched a new £10 million ‘Business Readiness Fund’ to ensure that businesses are “fully prepared” for Brexit by the end of October. The fund will be made available via a new dedicated website…just one month before the Brexit deadline.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said that fund will mean that businesses can ‘seize the opportunities’ of the UK leaving the EU.
Reports going back as far as last year have indicated that most businesses in the UK are ill-repaired for a no-deal Brexit (which is looking increasingly likely). Just last month it was also revealed that many companies - particularly small to medium size firms - are not prepared for the outcome.
We at diginomica/government have particularly highlighted the issues surrounding data transfers under a no-deal scenario.
The controversial decision this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament in the run-up to the end of October has made it increasingly unlikely that MPs will have enough time to introduce new legislation to block no-deal.
However, a last ditch attempt by the Business Secretary claims that the new Business Readiness Fund will support businesses across the UK in understanding the steps they should now take to be ready for 31 October 2019.
The £10 million fund is open to business organisations and trade associations throughout the UK and will support events, training and the production of advice packs.
Activities funded by the grants must be open to both members and non-members of any trade association, and to businesses large and small preparing for Brexit.
A press release issued by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy states that “this will ensure all businesses will benefit and can be reassured that they are fully ready, from major British producers to the smallest tech startups and entrepreneurs”.
It adds that there will be “no barriers, such as affordability of membership”.
Applications for grants will be accepted up to Friday 20 September 2019 and administered through a dedicated website, to be launched via GOV.UK today.
Funding will have to be used on activities to be completed - and delivered in their entirety - ahead of 31 October 2019, which the Department states is in order to ensure that “they are focused on Brexit preparations and that our businesses are fully prepared for Brexit day”.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October. For businesses that still feel unprepared, I am determined to do everything I possibly can to ensure they are fully ready for Brexit.
We know that companies often rely on the wider business community for help and advice with planning. Business groups will now be given the necessary tools to engage with this crucial task, communicating with non-members and businesses of all sizes.
The funding we are announcing today will mean business organisations from all sectors across the country can stand resolutely behind businesses large and small to support them in preparing for, and seizing the opportunities of, leaving the EU.
Applications are being invited for practical advice and support, including: advice packs; information campaigns; webinars; podcasts; events or training workshops.
Incredibly, the Department has said that the proposed initiatives will be required to “deliver their intended impact by the 31 October 2019” and this will be subject to HM Government scrutiny.
I guess we can all relax? Everything under control, nothing to see here...