Is Your Business Prepared for Brexit?

On the 1st January 2021, the UK officially leaves the European Union (EU). This includes the trade deals, legislation and legal requirements membership of the EU includes. While the UK is still in the transition period, it is important that you and your business are prepared for changes that will directly affect your business on the 1st January 2021.

For support and advice, contact Business Gateway Midlothian today.

What do you need to think about for your business and Brexit?


The Brexit transition period ends on the 31st December 2020, just 2 months away. Whether a trade deal with the EU is reached or not, there will be changes to trading, tariffs and customs. Now is the time to put the work in to ensure you are aware of the different outcomes of negotiations so you are ready, whatever happens.

If you’re unsure or would like more advice or support in preparing your business for Brexit, check out the Scottish Government’s Brexit website today for the latest information and guidance..

Customs Declarations

New customs declarations will be put in place on 1st January 2021. If you export to the EU or import goods to the UK from the EU, you will need to have the correct paperwork or goods will be stopped in transit causing delays and disruption.

Customs declarations can be complicated. There are a number of intermediaries who can help who have experience and knowledge of this to make the process easier. To assist, the UK Government has announced a grant scheme to support intermediaries, businesses who employ intermediaries and those businesses who want to carry out customs declarations themselves.

Chamber Customs is a new Customs Declaration Service provided by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. It provides a new Customs brokerage service to support businesses through the changes introduced by Brexit.

Local Supply Chains

It is estimated that between 40% and 70% of trucks travelling between the EU from the UK may not be ready for the new border controls. This will cause severe disruption to transport networks, importing and exporting goods and travelling to and from the EU, even if your business is prepared for them.

These delays could be avoided by looking at domestic or local supply chains and finding a potential alternative to importing goods closer to home. If you’ve been thinking about using a domestic product instead of importing, now is the time to make the switch. If the raw materials for your business are from a distribution company based elsewhere in the UK it's worth finding out if they import from Europe themselves. This poses a risk of delays to your business. If Brexit affects them, it will also affect you - another great reason to 'shop local' for your materials.

If you’re looking to find goods or a resource domestically or in Midlothian get in touch with Business Gateway Midlothian and their knowledgeable business advisors can help.


The European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) is likely to no longer be in use for UK Nationals travelling in EU member states. Private healthcare options for employees and self-employed people who travel regularly to EU countries should be seriously considered to protect both the employee and business. Without insurance the cost of medical care should it unfortunately be needed can be significant and affect the fund of the business or employee.

Payment of Customs Charges

Those who regularly import goods from the EU may consider having a Duty Deferment Account (DDA). This monthly payment covers customs charges such as customs duty, excise duty and import VAT to be paid once per month via direct debit. This means it doesn’t have to be paid on each individual package, saving time and managing your cashflow.

Movement of Goods into Northern Ireland

There will be some changes to goods movements into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. The Northern Ireland Protocol will be implemented after the transition period on the 1st January 2021. This is a solution to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. You can ensure you are prepared with the UK Government’s free to use Trader Support Service which will guide you through any changes and can complete declarations on your behalf.

Employment of European Nationals

The UK is implementing a points-based immigration system from 1st January 2021 which treats EU and non-EU citizens equally. All EU citizens moving to the UK from the 1st January 2021 will have to have a visa in advance of travelling.

From 1st January your business will need a sponsor licence to employ EU citizens coming to work in the UK from 1st January 2021.

Employees who are EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the country after 30th June 2021. You can find help and support in applying for settlement on Citizens Advice Scotland’s website.

Business Gateway Midlothian Brexit Support

Business Gateway Midlothian is available to help all local businesses who have concerns about Brexit and how it will affect their business. Business Gateway Midlothian will be compiling a Brexit Support Register where registered businesses can access virtual forums to help identify local challenges raised by Brexit. The Business Gateway team, together with Midlothian Council regulatory teams, can help to support with these challenges and enable as smooth a transition as possible. Contact Business Gateway Midlothian today and arrange a chat with an experienced adviser.

Brexit Webinar

Business Gateway are hosting a webinar on the 15th December looking at what your business should do now to get prepared and what changes are coming. Sign up today.

Business Gateway Midlothian

Contact Business Gateway

Further Business Support for Brexit

The Scottish Government

The Scottish Government have a dedicated Brexit website providing updates on agreements, guidance and getting your business ready.

The UK Government

Visit the UK Government’s Brexit Transition website to ensure you are ready.

Compile your own personalised checklist based on your business, family and personal circumstances to ensure you and your business are prepared.

If you import goods from the EU to the UK, use the UK Government’s import tool for details on movement of goods and actions to continue importing.

If you export goods to the EU from the UK, check the UK Government’s export tool to find out which actions need to be completed to continue exporting.

The Federation of Small Businesses

Get your small business ready for Brexit with The Federation of Small Businesses’ Transition Hub, designed to support small businesses the self-employed get ready for Brexit.

National Farmers Union Scotland

If you are a Scottish Farmer or Crofter, the National Farmers Union Scotland have step-by-step guides to prepare your business for Brexit and regular updates on the latest Brexit news and briefings.

The Road Haulage Association

The Road Haulage Association has complied a border checklist. Use this to plan ahead and keep up to date with changes to Border agreements.