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Preparing your business for leaving the EU

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Where are we now? And what does it mean for Scottish businesses?

The EU Council has now agreed to the UK Government’s request to extend the Article 50 process. The UK will now exit the EU on 22 May if the UK Parliament approves the Prime Minister’s deal in a vote expected next week. However, if the deal isn’t agreed then the UK will have until 12 April to either agree an alternative plan or leave the EU with no deal. 

While the dates have changed, the implications for businesses have not. The situation remains that unless the Prime Minister’s deal is approved or the UK Parliament and EU agree a Plan B, the UK will exit with no deal – and this could take place on 12 April.

Therefore, we urge all businesses to actively prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Continue to prepare for a fundamental change to Scotland’s business environment

Unless and until the UK Parliament and EU can agree how the UK will leave the EU in an orderly fashion, the default position is that the UK will leave the EU without a deal.

Our advice is therefore to continue to plan for a no-deal Brexit – to 'plan for the worst and hope for the best'. Taking urgent action now will help minimise any disruption and ensure that businesses can continue to operate after Brexit.

We have outlined the steps you should take now to prepare your business, to be read in conjunction with the 'Essential actions businesses should take now'.

It tells you more about how to:

  • identify and address the Brexit-related issues affecting your business
  • access information and advice for businesses in Scotland
  • apply for a Brexit Support Grant to help you manage the impacts of Brexit on your business

How will Brexit affect my business?

Significant changes to Scotland’s business environment will take place as a result of Brexit. This includes the vast array of EU legislation, regulation, funding programmes and trade agreements created over the last 40+ years which have governed how business operates in Scotland.

The implications for Scottish business are far-reaching:

  • Even if you’re not a direct importer or exporter, the chances are that many components and products you use originate in the EU
  • Even if you don’t employ any EU workers, the availability and cost of local labour may change
  • Even if you only serve Scottish or UK markets, the competition your business faces now may change

Where can I access information and advice?

Making your business Brexit-ready might seem daunting or costly. But there are many actions you can take now that are low-risk and low-cost.

This website offers information, advice, funding and other resources to help businesses identify how Brexit may affect them. It also suggests actions to mitigate the risks and also address the opportunities.

The information and resources on this site reflect the latest guidance contained in the UK Government’s wide range of no-deal guidance to businesses.

Develop a plan – then act!

It’s essential that you use the additional time during the extension to Article 50 to act quickly:

1. Make a plan

If you haven’t already started preparing for Brexit, nominate a senior member of staff or team to develop and then execute your plan.

Use the output from our self-assessment tool to focus on the priority issues faced by your business.

Identify both the immediate actions to take just now as well as the contingency actions to take when other details become clearer.

2. Take action

Once you’ve identified the issues you need to address the most important step is to take action. We’ve highlighted for you the 'essential actions' that many businesses should take. Use these as a starting point.

3. Regularly review your Brexit readiness

Further developments in the Brexit process over coming weeks will provide new information to help you increase your Brexit readiness. It’s vital that you continue to review the issues affecting your business.

This site will be regularly updated so please check back for the latest information, advice and support.

Brexit Support Grant

The Brexit Support Grant provides 100% funding, minimum £2,000 to a maximum of £4,000 to help VAT-registered SMEs manage a wide range of Brexit impacts.

It provides support for consultancy, professional fees, interns, graduate placements and international market visits directly related to Brexit. Eligible projects could include:

  • Commissioning specialist professional advice and services to help manage legal and financial consequences of Brexit
  • Exploring supply chain issues and opportunities
  • Reviewing and optimising transport or logistics arrangements
  • The costs incurred in acquiring AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) status
  • Addressing human resource issues
  • Staff training courses supporting complementary activity
  • Travel and accommodation for Brexit-related international market visits

Find out more and apply for the Brexit Support Grant

Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies also have a range of other funding programmes to support your business manage the risks and opportunities related to Brexit.

You can find out further information on our Resources page, send us an enquiry or call us on 0300 303 0661 (Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm).

Got a Brexit planning question?

Get in touch with our export advisers for full details of how we can help your business grow in EU markets and beyond.