HMRC extends customs funding programme for traders

Businesses can get help with investment in IT systems until 31 January 2021

Credit: HMRC

HM Revenue and Customs has extended to 31 January 2021 the deadline for businesses to apply for money to support the investments in IT and personnel required to navigate the post-Brexit customs landscape.

The funding scheme, first announced in September 2019, was originally planned to run until the end of last month, but will now be extended to help companies pay for the training and technology they need to make customs declarations when importing and exporting goods between the UK and the EU.

To date, applications have been made for around £18.5m out of a possible £26m– meaning there is at least £7.5m left to claim.

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As well as supporting recruitment and improved IT capability, the money applied for so far could potentially fund nearly 15,000 training courses to help traders submit customs declarations.

Financial secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman said: “The UK will be leaving the single market and customs union at the end of 2020, and businesses will need to prepare to submit customs declarations. Customs agents, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators can take advantage of the extended period by applying for grants to help them scale up and get ready.

“Customs processes can be handled by a business directly, but most businesses currently trading outside Europe use a customs agent.”

The extension of the HMRC scheme came shortly before an event hosted by the government’s Border Delivery Group at which minister Michael Gove warned businesses to prepare for “inevitable” border checks after the UK leaves the European Union.

“You have to accept we will need some friction,” he said. “We will minimise it, but it is an inevitability of our departure. I don’t underestimate the fact that this is a significant change, but we have time now to make that change.”


Sam Trendall

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