Whitehall tries to ramp up business support as Brexit cliff-edge nears

Ministers are racing to expand help for businesses to cope with a no-deal cliff-edge as the clock ticks down to the end of the Brexit transition period.

Senior sources said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) is bidding for cash from the Treasury to bolster its network of advisers across the UK, although the funding is yet to be approved.

With Boris Johnson now readying the UK for a no-deal after deadlocked trade talks, Beis is looking to add at least 100 more staff to its existing network of 400 advisers based in the 38 local enterprise partnerships between businesses and local authorities.

The extra staff would also be in place after the transition finishes on January 1 to offer urgent advice to companies distracted by the pandemic and caught out by new trading arrangements.

The efforts follow the warning from Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, to 600,000 businesses last week that there was “no time to waste” with 74 days left until the end of transition.



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