InterTradeIreland (ITI) is playing a major role as part of the Government’s wider Brexit response. It provides a range of Brexit supports and advice through its special Brexit Advisory Service. That service has engaged with more than 5,402 SMEs this year, in addition to the 4,175 SMEs it assisted in 2018. The cost of ITI’s Brexit Advisory Service for 2018 and 2019 was approximately €1 million and €2.1 million respectively.
A key aspect of the Brexit Advisory Service is the provision of Brexit Vouchers, of which there are two types. The “Planning Voucher”, which is valued at €2,250, enables recipient firms to obtain expert advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services. There has been strong demand for this scheme, with over 1,799 vouchers approved to date.
ITI expanded its range of Brexit supports in 2019 to include a new “Brexit Implementation Voucher”. Valued at €5,625, with ITI paying 50%, it allows businesses to implement critical changes and strengthen their preparation for the new trading relationship ahead.
The Government has been increasing ITI’s budget steadily in recent years to ensure the body has the resources it needs to support firms preparing for Brexit. My Department provided additional funding to the body – in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – to allow it to undertake a range of initiatives, through its Brexit Advisory Service, aimed at assisting SMEs. I intend to provide an additional €1 million in capital funding to the body in 2020, which will further facilitate this important work.