Nearly 45% of businesses are unprepared for Brexit, survey finds

EMBARGOED TO 0001 THURSDAY NOVEMBER 26 File photo dated 10/10/2019 of workers on the production line

Nearly 45% of businesses have reported being unprepared for Brexit - Credit: PA

Businesses have been urged to step up Brexit planning after a survey found only 42% believe they are fully prepared for customs changes.

A poll conducted by Enterprise Ireland revealed 44% of businesses have yet to decide how to pay customs charges, while 30% have yet to decide who will manage customs procedures.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has appealed to businesses to seek government help if they need it, with just 35 days left until the Brexit changes kick in.

He said: “This year has been devastating for many business owners. It would be understandable if Brexit was the last thing on their minds.

“However, Britain leaving the customs union and single market at the end of this year will bring major changes. There is a real risk of delays and loss of income, which would be really damaging for any business.

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“We are appealing to businesses to get ready now. There is a lot of help available.

“A good first step is to use our Brexit Readiness Checker, which will show you exactly what you need to do for your own business.”

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The survey of 600 companies showed that while more than half (52%) viewed customs and logistics as a priority, only 42% felt they were significantly or fully ready.

Over a fifth (22%) were still figuring out what they need to do in relation to priority issues.

Half of those businesses have yet to determine the potential tariff on their goods.

This comes after a senior transport industry head called the Downing Street's handling of Brexit border proceedings a "complete shambles" after it emerged government software needed to facilitate the transport of goods to and from the EU was not ready.

It follows a trial of Brexit customs checks that ended in a five-mile-long lorry queue in Kent.

Trade Minister Robert Troy said he was concerned about reports from the Revenue Commissioners that significant numbers of businesses that trade with the UK have not registered for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

He said EORI numbers are “the first basic step needed to trade with the UK” and without them “they will simply be unable to transact business with the UK”.

He added: “Businesses need to devote time to take this first step and to decide how to manage their customs overheads from January 1.

“There are supports available to help businesses with customs which I urge them to explore, such as Enterprise Ireland’s Ready for Customs grant, which provides up to 9,000 euro per employee engaged in customs work.

“I strongly encourage businesses to learn about the options available to them and to consider availing of them.”

Varadkar added: “I know there has been a huge amount to contend with this year already, but I really urge businesses to prioritise getting ready now and use the help that is there.

“There are 35 days left until the end of the year and time is of the essence.”

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