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SMMT launches Brexit Readiness Programme for automotive suppliers

Mike Hawes

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched a new Brexit Readiness Programme in an effort to help safeguard UK’s automotive supply chain.

With less than six months to secure a withdrawal deal and concerns of a cliff-edge on March 20, the SMMT said, at its Society’s Midlands Regional Forum in Derby, that its new programme came as part of ongoing efforts to provide support for small and medium sized member companies during the UK’s departure from the EU.

The SMMT said in a statement that 69% of the UK’s tier-one suppliers to the automotive sector employ fewer than 10 people that will have the resource 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, not least the increased paperwork and time required to fill in more detailed customs declarations – customs guidance alone on moving goods outside of the EU stretches to some 88 pages,” the SMMT said.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, 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 ‘no-deal’ by helping businesses navigate the complex trade realities of a post-Brexit landscape.”

Phase one of SMMT’s Brexit Readiness Programme sees five global brands from the legal and accountancy sectors join forces with the industry body to offer expert advice and consultancy services to members, including a free helpline for Brexit issues.

These include trade and tax arrangements outside of the EU, customs procedures and adapting to regulation changes from chemicals to data protection, employment law and immigration.

According to SMMT figures, the UK automotive supply chain supports 82,000 jobs and contributes £4.9 billion to the economy.

Every year these companies export some £3.4 billion worth of parts into Europe.

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