MANY business owners will be sitting down to eat their Christmas dinner exhausted from the year gone by. It’s been a year without precedent.
Covid-19 has dominated so much of all of our lives and has demanded so much from each and every one of us. Business owners, their staff and families have had to shoulder a huge burden.
I have seen so many examples across the country of businesses adapting to the pandemic, whether that be a shop moving online, a restaurant moving to takeaway, an office moving to remote working or a company pivoting to new products. The resilience and tenacity of Irish business has been truly extraordinary.
Once again, we are asking businesses to adapt, to make changes and prepare.
Great Britain leaves the single market and customs union in 14 days. I know this feels like another body blow, another huge undertaking.
The first thing I want to say is that there is help available. We are making available a grant up to €9,000 to enable businesses take on or redeploy a staff member into a customs role.
Practical training is also available, through Enterprise Ireland which is running an online Customs Insights course and through Local Enterprise Offices which are providing one to one Brexit mentoring.
The €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Brexit Loan Scheme, Microfinance Ireland loans, the Future Growth Loan Scheme, the Vat reduction, warehousing of tax liabilities and of course the EWSS will also help as will increased Government spending next year on public services and infrastructure.
These interventions were all designed to help businesses survive these next few months and protect jobs and livelihoods.
If you’re not sure what to do, a really good first step is to fill out the Brexit Readiness Checker, which is available online. You should also talk to your Local Enterprise Office — they are there to help you and have an in-depth knowledge of what needs to be done and what help is available.
The second thing I want to say is that there will be significant changes from the first of January 2021. There will no longer be a seamless trading environment. There will be new checks at the ports and airports and customs declarations to fill in.
That is why it is so important to prepare your business now, while there is still time, to make sure that you can still trade when the time comes.
In the short window remaining, it’s crucial that you prepare your business for the lasting change now, so that you are ready for January 1st.
The Government is here to help. Visit gov.ie/brexit to get more information about how we can support you.