Brexit – has there ever been a hotter topic for UK businesses? If you’re a product-based manufacturing business, keeping up to date with how Brexit could impact you and your business is crucial.
There’s plenty of general information available on the government’s Get Ready for Brexit pages, but the amount of information out there can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what applies to your product-based business.
However, there are some other useful tools and information sources to help you get ready for Brexit. Here’s our breakdown of what manufacturers and product-based business owners need to know ahead of the October 31st deadline.
Deal, or No Deal?
Although we do have a proposed deal, it’s not yet set in stone. It still needs to be agreed by Parliament, and a no-deal Brexit is still a genuine possibility. So, what difference might it make for you and your manufacturing business?
MAKE UK’s chairman, Stephen Phipson, commented on their blog about the proposed deal. He identified four key concerns in the current proposal for manufacturers:
- a suitable transition period
- regulatory alignment
- protection of frictionless trade
- access to skilled labour
The National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses (FSB) has put together a comprehensive no-deal Brexit hub, that answers all the questions you may have in the face of a no-deal Brexit.
Customs Changes and Your Supply/Distribution Chain
Whatever is decided, it’s obvious that Brexit is going to lead to some changes in customs. Although we don’t know precisely what that will look like yet, all manufacturers need to be prepared to tackle some customs challenges.
Whether you’re exporting your product, or importing the materials you use in the manufacturing process, this is going to have an impact on you. You may even need help from a specialist EU customs agent, and there’s a comprehensive list of them here.
If you’re a VAT registered importer, you should qualify for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for importing goods. VAT-registered companies have been auto-enrolled, but if you’re not VAT-registered, you will need to sign up for TSP if you plan to import any goods after 31st October.
If you’re exporting to the EU, the government has prepared a step-by-step guide to help you prepare for any changes.
There are some changes to how you need to handle compliance if you produce regulated goods or import regulated substances like chemicals.
UK assessment bodies will no longer be recognised in the EU, meaning that you’ll need to have them assessed and marked by an EU recognised assessment body.
For chemicals, you’ll potentially need to register with UK REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation).
The impact of Brexit will go beyond just the availability of migrant labour. The changes to immigration could be wide-ranging, and you’ll need to have a clear idea of how many EU workers you have, and what their rights to work in the UK are. Now is an excellent time to check that your employment records are up-to-date.
MAKE UK have got lots of information on how Brexit might impact your workforce on their website and in their ‘Navigating Brexit’ report. The British Chambers of Commerce also covers this and much more in their Business Brexit Checklist, a handy Brexit tool for any business.
If you’re working with clients or customers in Europe, you may need to make some updates to how you handle their personal information. The ICO has issued specific guidance on how to get ready for a no-deal Brexit when it comes to handling customer data.
Staying Ahead with Brexit Guidelines
We’ve covered some key points for UK manufacturers here, but it’s important to make sure you keep up with what’s happening as new information is coming to light quite regularly.
The government has put together some specific guidance for the consumer goods sector, and MAKE UK is holding events and posting regular updates and advice based on the latest available information. The best way to make sure your business is ready for Brexit is to keep yourself informed.
Here at Nexus IE, we’ll be working closely with our clients to ensure that all of our processes are Brexit-ready and production can continue smoothly, regardless of the outcome.