Monday 8 April 2019 3:10 pm

No-deal planning programme extended due to later Brexit date

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Reporter covering economics and markets. You can send me stories or get in touch at

The government has extended the deadline for companies to apply for an £8m scheme to help businesses prepare for Brexit, it said today.

The programme was instituted in October 2018 to help businesses prepare for a no-deal scenario by training traders on how to meet customs requirements and helping fund IT costs, among other measures, and will now run until 31 May.

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Treasury extended the programme, which had originally been planned to end on 5 April, because the date that Britain will leave the European Union has been pushed back.

Britain was originally scheduled to leave the bloc on 29 March but this was extended to 12 April. Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to Brussels this week to ask for a longer extension, probably until 30 June.

HMRC said that the £8m will be available to companies while it lasts, and that the scheme may end before 31 May if the money runs out.

Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury, said of the no-deal preparation programme: “We have already received over 300 applications, and I’d urge businesses to apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out.”

“We are doing everything we can to get businesses ready for the UK leaving the EU, however businesses also need to take action themselves to prepare,” Stride said.

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The programme is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. The IT training money is only available to companies with under 250 employees and an annual turnover of under £50m.