HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced that the deadline for applications for a government initiative to help businesses prepare for Brexit has been extended to enable more firms to benefit from the investment available and provide more time for applications.
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.
The Customs Intermediaries Grant Scheme has been designed to help businesses build capacity and improve efficiency in completing customs declarations. Funding is available towards the upfront costs of training staff and investing in IT to improve efficiency.
Competitive funding will be delivered through the following grant strands:
- £2 million for training grants for any business completing customs declarations (or intending to complete customs declarations in the future).
- £3 million for IT improvement grants for customs intermediaries who complete customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters, and that are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 250 employees and annual turnover under €50 million).
Businesses may have different needs and, therefore, may be able to apply for one or both grants but must meet certain requirements depending on which one they apply for. The training grants are available to customs intermediaries and traders, and the IT grants are available for existing customs intermediaries only.
Treasury Minister Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“We are doing everything we can to get businesses ready for the UK leaving the EU, however businesses also need to take action themselves to prepare.
“We have already received over 300 applications, and I’d urge businesses to apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out.”
The deadline for applications to be received has been extended to 31 May 2019.
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