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Brexit Bulletin – March 2021
Brexit Bulletin – March 2021

Welcome to your March Brexit Bulletin.

Don’t forget you can add colleagues to our mailing list to keep them updated on the Brexit Bulletin, and how else the BPIF is supporting your organisation, by logging into the members’ area of the BPIF website or by contacting your Regional Director.

In this month’s Bulletin:

1. Political update

2. Major survey on business disruption

3. Delay to new border controls

4. Brexit support fund now open

5. Latest publications


1. Political update

As March draws to a close, talks between UK and EU officials on the Northern Ireland Protocol have been taking place. The EU is reportedly expecting the UK to set out a road map this week explaining how it plans to fully implement the Protocol. Earlier this month the EU launched legal action against the UK over its alleged breach of the Protocol, when the UK changed implementation plans without EU agreement by delaying the introduction of new sea border checks.

Co-operation on financial regulation took a step in the right direction this month with the UK and the EU agreeing on a new forum – the Joint UK-EU Financial Regulatory Forum – for future discussions. The two sides have agreed a memorandum of understanding and are now working on a validation process.

2. Major survey on business disruption

A survey of businesses found that half have faced disruption since January 2021. The poll, of over 2,000 companies conducted by YouGov, further revealed that an eighth of businesses have experienced a large amount of disruption. 40% of the companies included do a moderate or large portion of trade with the EU.

Large businesses were more likely than small and medium-sized firms to report disruption, at 67% versus 42%. 60% of companies that routinely trade with the EU believe things will get worse with just 14% hopeful that Brexit will have a positive impact.

The spotlight also shone on security, as a House of Lords Committee report concluded that the UK has lost ‘significant’ access to EU policing data, and that post-Brexit law enforcement arrangements are ‘complex’ and ‘untested’.

You can read the report by clicking here

3. Delay to new border controls

The Government has delayed import controls at British borders, with the COVID-19 pandemic being cited as the reason, despite reports that UK ports were not ready for the planned April (Phase 2) requirements of the original Border Operating Model.

Michael Gove said that delays were in response to businesses making "a strong case that they need more time to prepare" and to the "disruption which has been caused, and is still being caused, by COVID and the need to ensure that the economy can recover fully."

The new timetable is:

Delayed until 1 October 2021 -

  • Checks on agri-food and feed

Delayed until 1 January 2022 -

  • Entry Safety and Security (ENS) declarations for imports delayed from 1 July until 1 January 2022
  • Import declarations still required but deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, extended from 1 July to 1 January 2022
  • Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks will be required for low risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1 January 2022
  • Physical SPS checks on high risk plants and agri-food and feed (including products of animal origin and high-risk foods not of animal origin) will take place at Border Control Posts, rather than at the place of destination as now, from 1 January 2022

Delayed until March 2022 -

  • From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products


4. Brexit support fund now open

The SME Brexit Support Fund is now open for applications via an online application process. The fund has been set up by government to help smaller businesses with changes to trade rules with the EU.

The Fund is not only open to SMEs, but to businesses with up to 500 employees and up to £100m turnover.

You can apply for up to £2,000 for help with training and professional advice on EU trading matters. There are two types of help:

Grant for Training

These grants can be used to provide training on:

  • How to complete customs declarations
  • How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

Grant for Professional Advice

These grants can be used to get professional advice, so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.

The grants are being administered by PWC and the application window closes on 30 June. But be quick, as the window will close sooner if the available funds run out!

Please click here to apply. 


5. Latest publications

House of Lords European Union Committee - Beyond Brexit: Trade in Goods

House of Lords European Union Committee - Lords Select Committee

Institute for Government - The End of the Brexit Transition Period: Was the UK Prepared?


You can view all the online resources by clicking here


30 March 2021

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For more information please contact:
Carys Davis
Carys Davis
Public Affairs Adviser
07854 950316
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