The Netherlands Enterprise Agency has launched a new ‘Brexit voucher’ scheme aimed at helping businesses with economic interests in the UK find “alternative markets and map out the consequences of the Brexit for their company”.
The voucher allows the business to claim €2,500 for advice from an external expert in order to help them prepare for Brexit.
British MEP Margot Parker rubbished the so-called ‘Brexit voucher’, declaring it unwise for firms to attempt to avoid the UK’s markets after the EU divorce.
An announcement on the Dutch agency’s website asks Dutch businesses if they believe their firm “has to deal with the consequences of Brexit”.
It adds: “With the Brexit voucher you receive a subsidy for advice on alternative markets and the consequences of Brexit for your company.”
The offer extends to small and medium-sized enterprises, but remains strictly limited with the Dutch government putting aside €3,950,000 for vouchers in 2018.
Ukip MEP Ms Parker urged EU firms to understand the reasons behind Brexit
Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “European businesses need the huge UK market for trade.
British companies and SME’s are being held back by EU hyper-regulation and tariffs imposed by their protectionist regime of the customs union.
“The UK is going global and we will be making free trade agreements with growing powerhouses of Brazil, India, China, the US and Australia.
“We have been tied down to the dying corpse of the EU for too long. We are going searching for bigger markets and greater opportunities, so the Remoaners can keep their silly Brexit vouchers!”
A Netherlands Enterprise Agency spokesman insisted the organisation is not encouraging firms to avoid Britain.
Frans Nederstigt said: “The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) does not actively encourage Dutch businesses to avoid the UK, either now or after Brexit.
“We run a Netherlands Business Support Office in Manchester that is currently still looking for possible opportunities for Dutch businesses in the UK and businesses should make their own assessment on their links with the UK.”
Ashley Fox, leader of Conservative MEPs, warned EU negotiators the voucher scheme should come as a wake up call.
He said: “This initiative highlights once again how important it is for the EU to join the UK in agreeing a wide ranging trade deal.
“The Dutch recognise that the continued free flow of goods and services across the channel is vital to safeguard jobs and build businesses. Indeed a recent report by the Dutch bank Rabobank estimated a no deal Brexit would knock 4.5 percentage points off the Dutch GDP, amounting to €35 billion.
“EU negotiators must listen to the economic concerns being expressed by Member States and not put political barriers in the way of securing what I hope will be the world’s most ambitious and mutually beneficial trade agreement.”