SMMT launches car industry Brexit aid package

The UK car industry’s trade body – the SMMT – has announced the launch of a Brexit Readiness Programme to help safeguard UK’s automotive supply chain.

With concerns growing over the prospect of a no-deal scenario, SMMT said that the programme has been set up to provide support to the SMEs who form the backbone of the UK’s automotive sector but lack the resource to prepare adequately for the dramatic and immediate change to trading conditions between the UK and EU in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

In this scenario, there will be new, potentially unfamiliar requirements for businesses. Calculations as to the value and proving the origin of goods will have to be made and there could be delays to the movement of components into and out of the UK which may require warehousing or changes to raw material stocks. New customs arrangements will present a particular challenge, not least the increased paperwork and time required to fill in more detailed customs declarations – customs guidance alone on moving goods outside of the EU stretches to some 88 pages. Furthermore, there could be cashflow implications associated with the payment of tariffs and other taxes.

In phase one of the programme a number of legal and accountancy firms have joined forces with SMMT to offer expert advice and consultancy services to members, including a free helpline for Brexit issues.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, 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.”