The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched its Brexit Readiness Programme to help businesses in the industry prepare for leaving the EU.
With an official leaving date of 29 March 2019, the industry is worried that the government will not agree a Brexit deal that satisfies members of parliament in the UK, nor the EU and its 27 member states.
As the uncertainty continues, the country moves ever closer to the ‘cliff edge’ of no-deal Brexit.
It is under these concerns that the SMMT has launched the Brexit Readiness Programme.
Under this programme, efforts will be made to support SMEs within the Society’s membership during this critical time.
In the transport sector, other associations have spoken about the problems that a no-deal Brexit could bring.
And the SMMT is concerned that its smaller businesses – 69% of the industry is made up of companies with fewer than 10 people – will not have the resource to adequately prepare for the “dramatic and immediate” alterations to trading conditions in the event of no-deal.
Risks include potential delays to movement of components; new customs arrangements that will present challenges revolving around paperwork and much more detailed declarations; cashflow implications on tariffs and other taxes represent significant risks to small businesses.
Therefore, the Brexit Readiness Programme will see the SMMT and five global organisations in the legal and accountancy sectors work together to offer advice and consultancy to members, such as a free helpline for Brexit-related issues.
This will help SMEs with trade and tax arrangements outside the EU, customs procedures, employment law and immigration.
The SMMT’s Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said: “A strong local supply chain is the backbone of any manufacturing sector, and ours has thrived thanks to massive reshoring efforts and the ability to trade freely and frictionlessly with the EU.
“A no-deal Brexit could have devastating consequences. With the clock ticking on negotiations, businesses must plan for all eventualities, including the worst.
“Our new support package seeks to mitigate the threat of no-deal by helping businesses navigate the complex trade realities of a post-Brexit landscape.”