£7.5m grant pot for post-Brexit customs declarations extended

Exporters can still apply for the remaining £7.5m of funding to help businesses change their systems to handle post-Brexit EU customs declarations after the government extended the deadline 

The scheme, first announced in September 2019, had been due to close on 31 January 2020. That deadline is now extended to 31 January 2021.

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 from HMRC.

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.

The recruitment grant provides businesses with £3,000 for each employee, and they could also get up to £10,000 for any employee recruited before 31 January 2021, to cover up to three months’ salary.

The training grant offers up to 100% of the cost of training for employees, up to a limit of £2,250 for each course. It will also cover the cost of internal training, up to a limit of £250 for each employee on the course.

The grant for IT improvements covers 100% of the costs relating to IT expenditure to improve the efficiency of making customs declarations. HMRC says on average it takes two to three weeks for applications to be approved.

Jesse Norman, financial secretary to the Treasury, 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.’

From 1 January 2021, businesses will need to make customs declarations to import and export goods between Great Britain and the EU once the UK is outside of the EU’s customs territory.

The government is currently consulting on its plans to introduce freeports. A full customs declaration would not be required to move goods into a freeport, which could potentially save businesses time and makes it easier to import goods.

Details of how to apply for grants if your business completes customs declarations

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