Last reviewed 30 July 2020

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is encouraging customs intermediaries and traders who make their own declarations to take advantage of newly-available funding. They can apply for £50 million of new funding, first announced in June 2020, to increase their capacity to make declarations ahead of 2021, when the transition period ends.

From January, intermediaries, such as brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators, will, the Government has said, play a critical role for businesses and it therefore wants to create conditions for a diverse market, developing the customs intermediary sector to encompass EU trade.

As well as providing the funding to support businesses with recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to handle customs declarations, the Government also intends to change rules which will remove the financial liability from intermediaries operating on behalf of their clients.

It also plans to allow parcel operators to continue declaring multiple consignments in a single customs declaration.

Details of the grant scheme, which is being run by HMRC and administered by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on its behalf, can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/grants-for-businesses-that-complete-customs-declarations.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said: “After the UK transition period with the EU ends on 31 December, intermediaries will play a vital role in helping UK businesses trade and seize new opportunities around the world. This funding and support will increase capacity as we get ready for the UK’s new start next year.”

Firms need many more customs agents to be ready, Liam Smyth, Director of Chamber Customs at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said, urging businesses to take advantage of the simple application process.