The Government has announced that international traders can now apply for a share of a new £50 million grant fund to help prepare for life after the end of the Brexit transitional period.
The new Customs Intermediary Grant Scheme aims to equip UK businesses with the tools and knowledge they need to complete customs processes and declarations to continue trading.
Successful applicants can use the cash to recruit customer intermediary professionals, train staff, or invest in IT equipment to handle new customs declarations.
Commenting on the launch of the fund, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said: “After the UK transition period with the EU ends on December 31, 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.
“Applying for this funding is simple and I urge the intermediary sector and businesses to take advantage of the help on offer now.”
Welcoming the scheme, Liam Smyth, Director of Chamber Customs at the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “Firms need many more customs agents to be ready, this fund can help to make that happen.”
From next year, the UK will begin to roll out its new customs and border controls in three stages to give businesses “more time to prepare”.
This will start in January, with traders of standard goods – such as clothes and electronics – required to keep sufficient records of imported goods and complete customs declarations within six months of importation. Animal and plant products will follow in April, and in July, all traders will be required to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs.