The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched a new Brexit Readiness Programme – a contingency aid package to help companies in the UK automotive supply chain in the event of Britain leaving the European Union without agreeing a deal.
While officials from a number of major car firms, including Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota, have warned of the impact a no-deal Brexit could have on them, the new SMMT initiative is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SMMT has previously warned on several occasions of the negative impact it feels Brexit is having on the UK car industry.
The bulk of SMEs in the UK automotive supply chain employ fewer than 10 people, and the SMMT says they could face significant challenges given likely new requirements and processes if a Brexit deal is not reached before Britain leaves the EU on 29 March next year.
In the first instance, the Brexit Readiness Programme will engage five legal and accountancy firms to offer advice and consultancy to SMMT members on subjects including trade and tax arrangements outside the EU, customs procedures, adapting to regulation changes and employment law. The scheme will involve a free Brexit helpline.
“A strong local supply chain is the backbone of any manufacturing sector, and ours has thrived thanks to massive restoring efforts and the ability to trade freely and frictionlessly with the EU,” said SMMT boss Mike Hawes.
“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.”
According to the SMMT, the UK automotive supply chain supports 82,000 jobs and contributes £4.9 billion to the economy, with companies exporting £3.4bn worth of parts into the EU each year.