HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding to 31st January 2021.
The scheme, first announced in September 2019, 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 from HMRC.
As well as supporting recruitment and improved IT capability, the money applied for so far could potentially fund nearly 15,000 training courses to help traders submit customs declarations.
CILT has two accredited professional courses each resulting in a qualification which qualifies for the free funding – the Certificate of Customs Competency and the AEO Certified Practitioner. These courses which focus on the practical rather than the theoretical and are presented by experienced industry practitioners. The face-to-face training offers delegates the benefit of being able to ask questions about real-life situations they have encountered and to receive immediate answers with practical solutions.
The courses have also been written with industry in mind, in that they don’t waste time and focus clearly on the who, the what and the how - getting delegates up to the required standard in less than half the time needed for equivalent on-line courses.
The Assessments are taken as part of the course and are multichoice in style – a test of factual knowledge rather than writing skills.
These established, industry leading courses were already much in demand but now the government will pay your course fees so delegates gain scarce skills that are much in demand for the price of travelling expenses.
Companies should note that places on the courses are filling quickly so action should be taken immediately to avoid disappointment.
Jesse Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: "The UK will be leaving the single market and customs union at the end of 2020, and businesses will need to prepare to submit customs declarations.
"Customs agents, freight forwarders and fast parcel operators can take advantage of the extended period by applying for grants to help them scale up and get ready.
"Customs processes can be handled by a business directly, but most businesses currently trading outside Europe use a customs agent."
From 1st January 2021, the way businesses trade will change, and they’ll need to prepare for life outside the EU, including new customs arrangements. For example, businesses will need to make customs declarations to import and export goods between Great Britain (GB) and the EU once the UK is outside of the EU’s customs territory.
Under Government plans to introduce innovative Freeports, a full customs declaration would not be required to move goods into a Freeport. This could potentially save businesses time and makes it easier to import goods.