The government recognises the challenges facing the customs intermediaries sector in supporting existing and new clients when the UK leaves the EU. It has engaged with industry bodies and key providers of customs broker services – including freight forwarders, fast parcel operators and independent customs brokers – to better understand this challenge.
In response, the government created the Customs Training and IT Grants Scheme to help businesses build capacity and improve efficiency in completing customs declarations. The programme will award grants to help meet the upfront costs of employee training and IT improvements.
Following a recent investment to provide funding towards training and IT costs for businesses that complete customs declarations, HMRC has announced that it will provide a further £10 million in grants for customs agents and intermediaries to build capacity in managing customs declarations.
This additional wave of grants, which follows the £5 million made available from December 2018 and the £16 million made available in September 2019, has been developed to directly respond to industry feedback on what is needed to help build capacity ahead of, or after, Brexit on 31 October, alongside the additional training and IT support already available.
The further £10 million in grants is open to businesses based in, or with a branch in, the UK, that currently complete customs declarations for importers and exporters. They will support the costs of hiring staff, including £3,000 for recruitment costs, and up to £10,000 for salary costs, to help build business capacity.
Businesses that will benefit from the funding are encouraged to apply early, as applications will close once all the funding has been allocated, and by 31 January 2020 at the latest. Those that applied for the first and second wave may apply again as part of this new wave of grants.
More information about this funding opportunity and the application process is available on the GRANTfinder funding information platform. GRANTfinder provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on funding news and policy. To find out more about how GRANTfinder can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.