Gov flings £10m to help businesses get Brexit-ready with, um... information packs

Just months before 'Brexit day'

Screengrab from the Thick of IT - Brit govt satirical comedy show. Cast text furiously while in crisis mode.

Just months before the omnishambles deal-or-no-deal uncertainty of Britain's exit from the European Union, the government has a cunning plan to help businesses prepare: information packs!

The £10m Business Readiness Fund will support events, training and the production of advice packs to assist businesses in making sure they are fully prepared for a Brexit on 31 October 2019, announced Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom today.

Grants will be awarded for applications seeking money to provide practical advice and support, including (but not limited to): advice packs; information campaigns; webinars; podcasts; events or training workshops.

Applications will be accepted up to Friday 20 September 2019 for activities to be completed ahead of 31 October to ensure "our businesses are fully prepared for Brexit day," it said.

Leadsom (she who has a personal stake in Blighty's future "as a mother") commented: "The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October. For businesses that still feel unprepared, I am determined to do everything I possibly can to ensure they are fully ready for Brexit."

Business groups will now be given the necessary tools to engage with this crucial task, she said. Warming to her theme, and peppering in the word business as often as possible, she added: "The funding we are announcing today will mean business organisations from all sectors across the country can stand resolutely behind businesses large and small to support them in preparing for, and seizing the opportunities of, leaving the EU."

When The Register asked the technology sector's own trade association, Tech UK, if it will avail itself of these services, it opined: "While businesses may take many steps to prepare for exit on the 31st October it is highly likely that they will continue to require information and support in the months that follow and continued government support for that will be necessary."

The sudden funding announcement reminds The Register of the scene in the BBC's political satire The Thick of IT when the character of the minister, Hugh Abbot, has to invent a meaningless policy on the fly. "We've probably got ten million we can throw at it," says his adviser.  Abbot: "Yes. That's good, that, because it sounds like a lot, doesn't it?"

In fact, the current week in politics brings to mind another Hugh Abbot quote. Ex digital minister Matt Hancock was notably silent yesterday, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the suspension of Parliament to push through Brexit.

Yet during the recent Tory leadership contest, Hancock said the idea of suspending Parliament "goes against everything those men who waded onto those beaches fought & died for – and I will not have it."

Like Hugh, if/when the shit really hits the fan in the coming weeks, Hancock may also reflect: "I've missed my ideal resigning point." ®

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