Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Grants Available from This Week to Assist in Customs Procedures Staff Training and IT Needs  

Freight Associations and Logistics Interests Have Guided Government Policy

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Shipping News Feature UK – The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has pointed out that from this week, after the government recognised one of the key post Brexit challenges for the industry, namely the potential for a huge increase in demand on customs intermediaries and traders required to complete customs declarations after March 2019, help is at hand to try and mitigate this particular problem.

After a series of meetings with a variety of bodies including freight forwarders, logistics stakeholders, fast parcel operators and independent customs brokers, BIFA says the government representatives were better able to understand the potential challenges. Based on these useful discussions, back in September HM Treasury and HMRC announced a one-off investment of £8 million to support broker training and increased automation.

Since then HMRC has engaged Knowledge Pool, a managed learning service provider and part of the Capita group, to increase the training available in this area. This includes working with training providers to increase the number of courses available in the short term, as well as investing in the development of new courses which will be available over the coming months. Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said:

“Following extensive engagement with the customs intermediaries sector, we have listened to their concerns about how they will satisfy the extra demand for customs broker services. We are pleased to make available this £8 million investment to support the customs intermediaries sector to expand capacity in preparation for the UK to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.”

Two grants are now available and businesses based in, or with a branch in, the UK can apply for one or both to meet the costs of employee training and IT improvements. Successful applicants can receive up to 50% of the cost of training staff from the £2 million allocated to funding training for intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations (or intending to complete customs declarations in the future).

There is a further £3 million available in IT improvement funding, available to SMEs in the customs intermediaries sector currently completing customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters. The grant will fund investment in packaged software that increases the automation and productivity of completing customs declarations.

HMRC has appointed Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) as its accredited grant administrator with full details of how to apply HERE and online applications will be to the administrators, not HMRC, via the Registration Page.

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