BIFA hails one-year deadline extension for Customs grant scheme applications
THE British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed the news that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has extended by one year the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding
THE British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed the news that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has extended by one year the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding.
The new deadline for the scheme is January 31, 2021, instead of January 31, 2020, first announced in September 2019.
In a statement BIFA noted that to date applications have been made for around GBP18.5 million out of a possible GBP26 million - meaning there is at least GBP7.5 million left to claim from HMRC.
Director general of BIFA, the trade association for UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, Robert Keen, said: 'During many meetings with both HM Treasury and HMRC over the last three years, BIFA has highlighted the concerns of our members regarding the capability of the Customs brokerage sector to increase capacity, at a time when that sector already faces a shortage of staff of suitable quality.
'We emphasised that it could take up to a year to train staff to be fully conversant to prepare a range of basic Customs declarations, even if there was a sufficient number of trainers to train those staff, as well as relevant courses for them to attend.
'So, the news of a further extension to the deadline for this funding is very welcome, and we are encouraging our members who believe they might benefit to apply; if they have not done so already.'
BIFA notes that grants are being made available for all customs intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations with the aim of supporting training and the upgrade of IT systems.
Mr Keen said: 'This scheme is intended to help support the extra demand for customs brokerage services associated with the UK's departure from the EU, as well as issues associated with the replacement of the current system used to process customs entries.'