SMMT launches plan to protect car industry from no-deal Brexit trauma

Time 2:54 pm, October 10, 2018

A CONTINGENCY plan to prevent the car industry suffering ‘devastating consequences’ in the event of a no-deal Brexit has been launched.

Put together by industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the ‘Brexit Readiness Programme’ aims to offer support to businesses across the industry.

Particular attention has been paid to small and medium-sized firms in the automotive supply chain, which supports 82,000 jobs and contributes £4.9 billion to the economy.

The SMMT notes that 69 per cent of companies in that part of the industry employ fewer than 10 people – and not all will have the resources to prepare adequately for the dramatic and immediate change to trading conditions between the UK and EU in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

New customs arrangements will present a particular challenge, says the SMMT, not least because of the increased paperwork and time required to fill in more detailed declarations.

There could also be cashflow implications associated with the payment of tariffs and other taxes.

Along with a free helpline for Brexit-related issues, businesses will be able to seek expert advice and access consultancy services from five global brands from the legal and accountancy sectors — namely PwC, Squire Patton Boggs, Deloitte, Gowling WLG and Grant Thornton.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘A strong local supply chain is the backbone of any manufacturing sector, and ours has thrived thanks to massive reshoring efforts and the ability to trade freely and frictionlessly with the EU.

‘A ‘no-deal’ Brexit could have devastating consequences. With the clock ticking on negotiations, businesses must plan for all eventualities, including the worst.

‘Our new support package seeks to mitigate the threat of a ‘no-deal’ by helping businesses navigate the complex trade realities of a post-Brexit landscape.’

The SMMT’s Brexit Readiness Programme was launched today at the society’s midlands regional forum in Derby.

MORE: UK new car market drops by a fifth in ‘exceptional’ September

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MORE: No-deal Brexit ‘cannot be an option’

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