Applications open for £50m UK customs intermediaries

London, UK: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is inviting customs intermediaries to apply for £50m of new funding, first announced in June 2020, to support businesses with recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to handle customs declarations.

After the transition period ends on December 31, intermediaries, such as brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators, will play a critical role for businesses, and the government wants to create conditions for a diverse market, says HMRC.

As well as injecting £50m the government also intends to change rules which will remove the financial liability from intermediaries operating on behalf of their clients.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said: “After the UK transition period with the EU ends on December 31, intermediaries will play a vital role in helping UK businesses trade and seize new opportunities around the world. This funding and support will increase capacity as we get ready for the UK’s new start next year.

“Applying for this funding is simple and I urge the intermediary sector and businesses to take advantage of the help on offer now.”

Liam Smyth, director of Chamber Customs at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Firms need many more customs agents to be ready, this fund can help to make that happen.”

“We have helped almost 2,000 businesses across the UK to upskill their staff through our training courses and we have benefitted directly by taking on more people and equipping them to be ready for the end of the transition period.

The customs grant scheme was launched in November 2018 to support the intermediary market to expand. To date, HMRC has invested £34m to support the sector, which includes more than 20,000 training courses, nearly 15,000 units of IT and the recruitment of over 600 new customs agents.

For full details of criteria and how to apply please read the guidance at:
www.gov.uk/guidance/grants-for-businesses-that-complete-customs-declarations

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