Leaving the EU - Support for businesses

The UK’s Transition period with the EU ended on the 31st December 2020, and the UK formally left the European Union on the 1st January 2021.

For a personalised list of actions that you, your family and your business need to do, the government has created an online checklist you can take.

As a council, we are working hard to ensure you have access to the latest available help. This page will signpost you to all the information, guidance and support available for businesses.

If you require any further advice, you can speak to the Council’s business engagement team. We are experiencing a high volume of calls and emails but will be in touch as soon as possible.


To assist businesses that export and import, the government have provided the following guidelines.

New rules for trading with the EU

New rules now apply for businesses that trade with Europe. This means that since 1st January 2021, all businesses that move goods between Great Britain and countries in the EU, or under the Northern Ireland Protocol, need to follow new customs and tax rules.

What is an EORI number and why do I need one?

You must have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB if you wish to move goods between Great Britain or the Isle of Man, and other countries. Without it you will not be able to complete your customs declarations and you may experience increased costs and delays.

You will also need a separate EORI number that starts with XI if you:

  • Move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries (including Great Britain)
  • Make a declaration in Northern Ireland
  • Get a customs decision in Northern Ireland.

To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB. An EORI number consists of two parts, the country code followed by a unique code or number.

If you already have an EORI number and it does not start with GB, you will need to apply for a new one.

If you do not have an EORI number that starts with GB or XI for Northern Ireland, you can register for free to get an EORI number on GOV.UK (external link). It takes 5 to 10 minutes to apply and you will normally receive it in under a week.


To help you check the new rules and to understand what actions you will need to take, the government and other organisations are hosting free webinars.

Business Growth Hub Support

In addition to the national governments help, the Business Growth Hub (external link) has created its own website which offers further advice on:

GM Chamber

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce website (external link) has launched its Brexit hub for members and non-members.

EU Residents

The government has advised that all non-UK EU citizens must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme (external link) to ensure their rights are protected once the transition period is over.

The government has provided translated documents explaining the EU Settlement Scheme process in various languages (external link).

If you, your friends, family, or neighbours are from the EU, then please apply or advise people to apply to remain in the UK. This affects people from the following places:

  • European Union
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme online (external link). The deadline for applications is the 30th June 2021. For more information you can:

Useful links and resources

Key government updates


VAT and overseas goods sold to customers from online market places - Guidance has been issues on how online market places and those who sell directly to customers in Great Britain from 1st January 2021 will deal with VAT on overseas goods.

Product safety

Food and drink

Importing and exporting

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