A new Brexit date of 12 April 2019 is the Government’s current target to get Parliament to agree to the Prime Minister’s deal. It has now been voted down three times, and a series of non-binding indicative votes have been on the table over the last week.
The votes of 1 April appeared to show that MPs are still divided over the best way for the UK to leave the European Union (EU). Whatever happens, and this could feasibly include a General Election, a People’s Vote, a customs union agreement or a no-deal Brexit, the small business sector must look ahead.
How a new fund will help small businesses through Brexit
To help the increasingly vital SME sector in the UK navigate the challenges brought by Brexit, Barclays has announced a new fund. It offers overdrafts, mortgages and loans to UK SMEs, as well as growth funding and cash flow.
Worth £14.7 billion, the Barclays Brexit fund is designed specifically to help small and medium sized businesses negotiate Brexit and plan for a future outside of the EU.
The fund will offer:
- Commercial mortgages, overdrafts and business loans up to a quarter of a million pounds working capital.
- Loans for innovate start-ups and established companies seeking capital, environmental investment and growth funding.
- Cashflow funding for investment in management buy-outs, growth and acquisitions.
The fund takes advantage of the Enterprise Guarantee Programme. This is backed by the Government and is designed to encourage lending to small businesses by offering guarantees from the British Business Bank. It will be available to small and medium sized businesses that have a turnover worth up to £25 million.
And it’s not the only thing Barclays is implementing to deal with specific challenges caused by Brexit. The bank is running more than 100 SME seminars and clinics about Brexit across the UK. They will help businesses plan for managing their cashflow and working capital, how they will manage potentially restricted access to workers, supply chain management and exporting services and goods overseas.
Businesses divided on Brexit
Just as MPs are split on the best way to deliver Brexit, research shows that the business world is also somewhat divided. A survey from the Institute of Directors shows that almost two-thirds of small businesses would like to see a Brexit deal that allows the UK to be closely linked with the single market.
Its research finds that 58% want the UK to stay aligned in goods, and 60% in services. A similar number of small business owners (56%) say that they want a Brexit deal that makes sure the UK can align tariffs with the EU’s. The research targeted 1,400 IOD members between 14 and 21 March 2019 and could well have changed since the votes by MPs on since then.
While minds are changing all the time as events develop, businesses remain split on the length any potential extension period should last. Half say that there should be a short extension of no more than three months, while 40% say they want at least nine months.
James Turner, Managing Director of Turner Little Limited, says: “There is no doubt that MPs are currently dealing with important and difficult decisions. While the small business sector doesn’t have a completely unanimous view of the best course of action, it’s important that we all accept the risks and opportunities inherent in every course of action.
“Brexit presents the country with a unique, unprecedented opportunity for real, lasting change. It’s the small and medium sized business sector that will do the most to shape the change. This includes entrepreneurs, start-up owners, Fintech disruptors, builders, farmers, manufacturers and many others.
“It’s encouraging to see moves from the Government and the big banks that offer tangible assistance to the small business sector as it navigates the choppy waters of transformation. The fund from Barclays recognises that SMEs form the backbone of the UK’s economy, and that they are integral to a stronger, united country outside of the EU.”
About Turner Little
Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction, trademarking and trusts. Other services include Internet services, mail forwarding, wills and probate. Turner Little’s vision is to offer the best possible service, together with market leading products.