Trading up – “Free” Money to help traders cope with leaving the EU.
With the UK leaving the EU single market and customs union at the end of this year, businesses will need to prepare to submit customs declarations. Customs processes can, of course, be handled by a business directly, but most firms currently trading outside Europe use a customs agent.
Those involved in trade – customs agents, freight forwarders, fast parcel operators and the like can take advantage of the extended period by applying for grants to help them scale up and get ready.
The good news is that HMRC has extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding to 31 January 2021.
The scheme, first announced in September 2019, had been due to close last month – 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 from HMRC.
The government’s view is that this cash can be spent on a variety of purposes from supporting recruitment to improved IT capability. It’s estimated that the money applied for so far could fund nearly 15,000 training courses, thus helping traders submit customs declarations and easing the passage as we move to whatever new trading arrangements are agreed in the wake of Brexit.