In this week’s digest we reveal the new Recovery Loan Scheme from the British Business Bank, look at the Northern Ireland riots and discuss how it may be linked to Brexit, and review why things are looking up for the Welsh ports after previous reports of a slump in freight traffic. Plus, latest information about upcoming webinars that could help your business grow through the EU Transition.
British Business Bank launches Recovery Loan Scheme
This week, the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) was introduced by the British Business Bank, providing up to £10m per business through a number of accredited lenders. Any UK business affected by Covid-19 can apply for the RLS, and the finance can be used for any legitimate business purpose.
Applications opened on 6 April and will run until 31 December 2021. Click here to apply for a loan.
Due to the Northern Ireland Protocol, firms in Northern Ireland will have to comply with the EU’s Undertaking in Difficulty (UID) test before applying for the RLS. The BBC reports that this is because Northern Ireland is still in the EU single market and is therefore subject to EU subsidy rules for trade.
Northern Ireland riots universally condemned by politicians
Over the past 10 days, towns and cities across Northern Ireland have seen violent protests and riots, which led to more than 50 injured police officers and 10 arrested citizens.
It is suggested that the riots come after “simmering loyalist tensions over the Irish Sea border imposed as a result of the UK-EU Brexit deal” (BBC) as unionist leaders express their opinion of how the Protocol damages trade for Northern Ireland.
Urgent intergovernmental meetings have been called by the Irish prime minister and shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Louise Haigh, as many leaders call for “political solutions for political problems”.
UK transition webinar support
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is hosting several webinars to help businesses understand Customs Import Declarations, Exporting, Importing, and Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary.
Anyone can register for a live webinar, although most are recorded and posted to their YouTube playlist, along with other short, useful videos explaining new UK transition processes and requirements.
GOV.UK has also published a webinar recording from 24 February 2021, which gives an overview of the new trading rules with the EU. The video includes information on:
- Changes that affect movement in and out of the UK
- Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls and other regimes
- Updates on the border
- Signposts to a range of products and guidance
Freight traffic between Welsh and Irish ports rises after slump
After last week’s reports of Welsh ferry ports seeing a dramatic decline in business, it appears trading has already increased. The BBC reports that the reduction in lorry numbers is now 28% (compared with the same week last year), up 22% from last week’s 50% decrease.
Paul Grant, Irish Sea Trade Director at Stena Line said, “The increase in frequency is good news for [the port of] Fishguard, which had seen services reduced due to lower demand from freight and passengers, as a consequence of both the Covid-19 lockdowns and Brexit.”.