Over the past few months, HMRC has unveiled a package of measures to accelerate the growth of the UK’s customs intermediary sector. These announcements included £50 million of new funding to support businesses with recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to handle customs declarations as the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.
The application process for the £50 million of additional funding opened on 29 July 2020. HMRC, which is running the scheme, is encouraging customs intermediaries (including customs brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators) and traders who make their own declarations to take advantage of the funding now. Grants will be issued on a first come, first served basis. Applications will close on 30 June 2021, or earlier if all funding is allocated.
The grant can be used to cover salary costs for new or redeployed staff, up to a limit of £12,000 per person and £3,000 to meet recruitment costs for new employees. This will help businesses recruit new staff and train them ahead of July 2021, when all traders moving goods will have to make declarations.
Prior to the launch of this additional £50 million of funding, HMRC has already invested £34 million which has been used to fund more than 20,000 training courses, nearly 15,000 units of IT and the recruitment of almost 600 new customs agents.
The government also intends to change rules which will remove the financial liability from intermediaries operating on behalf of their clients and to allow parcel operators to continue declaring multiple consignments in a single customs declaration.