Applications open today for £50m state fund for customs training: brokers AND traders are eligible

The government released details of training grants, calling on traders and intermediaries needing to make customs declarations from next year to apply for training grants from a £50m dedicated fund.

The new funding, first announced by HMRC in June 2020 and detailed in recent BPMA webinar with Kevin Shakespeare, aimed at helping businesses who trade with the EU boost their ability to make declarations ahead of 2021.

After initially saying the fund was for intermediaries only, HMRC clarified today that traders – including manufacturers and retailers – as well as intermediaries can apply for grants.

Straightforward application

Michael Gove MP, the cabinet minister responsible for delivering Brexit, said:

Applying for this funding is simple and I urge the intermediary sector and businesses to take advantage of the help on offer now.”

The widening of fund access to traders came after representations to HMRC by the Institute of Export & International Trade.

IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione commented on the news; “We welcome HMRC’s clarification on trader access to the additional £50m funding for training that will ease firms’ progress towards making customs declarations. We’re pleased that our case for traders was listened to.”

‘Traders ultimately liable’

The IOE&IT added that it was “particularly important for traders to have access to this boosted training fund, as they remain ultimately liable for accuracy in customs declarations”.

IOE&IT directors are taking part in meetings with HMRC this week, at which further clarification of criteria for training grants will be sought.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a grant, firms must:

  • have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before the submission of applications and when the grant is paid
  • not have previously failed to meet its tax obligations – HMRC will check its records to decide if it can offer firms a grant.

In addition, firms must meet one of the descriptions below:

  • complete or intend to complete customs declarations on behalf of clients
  • be an importer or exporter and complete or intend to complete declarations internally for a firm’s own goods
  • be an organisation which recruits, trains and places apprentices in businesses to undertake customs declarations.

Broker financial liability

The government also said it intends to change rules which will remove the financial liability from intermediaries operating on behalf of their clients, and allow parcel operators to continue declaring multiple consignments in a single customs declaration.

The IOE&IT’s Kevin Shakespeare will be speaking at the BPMA Conference on September 9th detailing the transition changes the industry needs to be aware of as we leave the EU.

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