Staying Flexible in the Start Up Phase
May 14, 2020
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New Support Measures for Customs Intermediaries

A businessman selecting a Customs Concept button on a clear screen.

Today (Friday 12 June 2020), the government has announced the transition period will not be extended and controls for importing goods will now apply from July 2021.

As well as giving businesses more time to prepare, HMRC has unveiled a new package of measures to accelerate growth of the UK’s customs intermediary sector.

As well as injecting £50 million to support businesses with recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to handle customs declarations, the government intends to remove barriers for intermediaries taking on extra clients by adapting the rules around financial liability.

In total, the government has now made available £84 million to grow the customs intermediary sector to encompass EU trade after 2020.  At the moment, agents cover non-EU trade though many, like parcel companies, do operate in the EU market.

The previous £34 million grants fund supported more than 20,000 training courses being undertaken, plus the purchase of 15,000 pieces of IT equipment and software.

The intermediary sector – including customs brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators – help businesses to import and export their goods by ensuring the necessary customs paperwork has been completed.

The £50 million funding is one part of the measures to support the customs intermediary sector meet the increased demand it will see from traders at the end of the transition period. The government also intends to change rules which will remove the financial liability from intermediaries operating on behalf of their clients and allow parcel operators to continue declaring multiple consignments in a single customs declaration. This will help intermediaries increase their operations.

Applications for the new funding will be open from July and HMRC will unveil more details in due course.

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