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£8 million funding scheme for customs intermediaries and traders open

HM Treasury and HMRC grants for training and IT improvements ahead of UK leaving the EU.

From 4 December 2018, customs intermediaries and traders who complete, or intend to complete customs declarations can apply for funding for training and IT. This will help to increase capacity in preparation for the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.

The government recognises the challenges facing the customs intermediaries sector in supporting existing and new clients when the UK leaves the EU. It has engaged extensively with industry bodies and key providers of customs broker services – including freight forwarders, fast parcel operators and independent customs brokers – to better understand this challenge.

Based on this useful engagement, 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, 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 £8m investment to support the customs intermediaries sector to expand capacity in preparation for the UK to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.”

As part of this investment, funding is now available to help businesses, based in, or with a branch in, the UK to meet the costs of employee training and IT improvements. Businesses who will benefit from the funding are encouraged to apply early. Applications will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

Businesses can apply for one or both grants:

  • There is £2 million available to fund training funding for intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations (or intending to complete customs declarations in the future). The grant will provide funding for up to 50% of the cost of training staff.

  • There is £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.

PwC is administering the grants on behalf of HMRC as an accredited grant administrator. Businesses who wish to apply for funding should not contact HMRC and can apply on online. More information, and a link to the online application page are available on GOV.UK.

Frequently asked questions

 

I’m not a customs intermediary, but my business imports and/or exports   to the EU. Can I apply for a grant?

Yes. If your business is based in, or has   a branch in the UK, and is currently importing and/or exporting to the EU   then you can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of training yourself   or your staff to complete customs declarations and handle other customs   procedures. A higher limit applies to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. You   won’t be eligible for the IT improvements grant.

I’m   a self-employed UK trader who imports/exports to the EU. Can I apply for a   grant?

Yes. If you are currently importing and/or   exporting then you can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of   training to complete customs declarations. A higher limit applies to Small   and Medium-sized Enterprises. You won’t be eligible for the IT improvements   grant.

Are   these grants available to businesses based in Northern Ireland?

Yes. Both the IT improvements grant and   the training grant are available to business which are based in, or have a   branch anywhere in the UK.

What type of training will the grant fund?

 

The training grant will provide funding   for up to 50% of the cost of training that provides you or your employees   with skills to complete customs declarations and carry out the technical   processes of customs procedures. A higher limit applies to Small and Medium-sized   Enterprises.

The training does not have to lead to a   formal qualification.

It cannot be used towards the existing costs   of current training or for other unrelated training.

I’m not currently a customs intermediary but I’d like to invest in IT   improvements, can I apply for a grant?

No. The IT improvements grant is only   available to customs intermediaries who currently complete customs   declarations on behalf of importers and exporters. Your business must be   based in, or have a branch in the UK, have 250 employees or less and an   annual turnover of €50 million or less.

What type of IT improvements will the grant fund?

 

The IT improvements grant must be used to   acquire packaged software that increases the automation and productivity of   completing customs declarations and will cover the first year licence. The   funding can also be used to buy hardware needed to run the software,   installation and configuration, and related software training. It cannot be   used to commission bespoke software or unrelated networking costs.

Can I apply for both grants?

 

Yes, if you are a customs intermediary   you can apply for both the training and the IT improvements grants, provided   you meet the eligibility criteria for each grant.

Can I apply more than once?

 

Yes. You may decide to train more staff   than requested in their original application, or an employee may wish to go   on additional training courses. There is a personal training limit of £750   per person, or £1,050 per person if your business has 250 employees or less   and an annual turnover of €50 million or less.

Applications will close on 5 April 2019,   or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

When is the deadline and how do I apply?

 

You can find details of how to apply   online at customsintermediarygrant.co.uk. Do not contact HMRC.

Applications will close on 5 April 2019,   or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

If you would prefer to apply offline, an application   form can be downloaded from customsintermediarygrant.co.uk and submitted by   post. A Welsh language form is also available.

When will I know if my application has been successful?

 

All applications will go through a review   process to check eligibility and complete due diligence checks. Processing   times will vary depending on demand but we expect you to be informed within   two to three weeks from the date of application.

What happens if my application is rejected?

You will be advised if your application   is incomplete or we require further information. You will have the   opportunity to submit any additional information online. If your application   is rejected, you can ask for the decision to be reviewed.

When will I receive the funding?

The grants will be paid following receipt   of proof of payment for either training or IT improvements depending on the   grant you applied for. Reimbursements will be made 30 days from the end of   the month the proof of payment is submitted.

How will I receive the funding?

Payment will be made by BACs transfer to   a UK bank account in the name of the applicant.

How will you use the information I give you?

 

In line with General Data Protection   Regulation (GDPR) PwC is strongly committed to protecting individuals’   personal information, including personal data that we hold or process about   our clients, employees, vendors or other stakeholders.

We protect your personal information by   only collecting applicant data that is essential for deciding on the   allocation of funding, erasing data that is not relevant in the application   process, and limiting the data that we share. Relevant information will be   shared with HMRC. 

 



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