Business, Forwarding, Freight News, Logistics

Customs grant deadline extended

[ February 10, 2020   //   ]

The British International Freight Association has welcomed financial secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman’s statement that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has extended the deadline for businesses to apply for support funding to 31 January 2021.

The scheme, first announced in September 2019 and which allows companies affected by Brexit to apply for grants to cover the cost of training and IT, had been due to close on 31 January 2020. To date, applications have been made for around £18.5 million out of a possible £26 million – meaning there is at least £7.5 million left to claim.

BIFA director general Robert Keen, said: “During many meetings with both HM Treasury and HMRC over the last three years, BIFA has highlighted the concerns of our members regarding the capability of the Customs brokerage sector to increase capacity, at a time when that sector already faces a shortage of staff of suitable quality. We emphasised that it could take up to a year to train staff to be fully conversant to prepare a range of basic Customs declarations, even if there was a sufficient number of trainers to train those staff, as well as relevant courses for them to attend.

“So, the news of a further extension to the deadline for this funding is very welcome, and we are encouraging our members who believe they might benefit to apply; if they have not done so already.”

Grants are available for all customs intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations with the aim of supporting training and the upgrade of IT systems.

The grants could be used to support a business that is extending and taking on new staff, or to help train an existing employee to start completing customs declarations for the company. Training can be delivered by an external provider, or an in-house trainer.