The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the trade association for UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to extend the deadline for businesses to apply for funding towards training courses that help them to complete customs declarations.
The funding was initially revealed in December 2018, and it was recently announced that the deadline for applications would be extended to May 31st 2019.
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.
Robert Keen, director general of BIFA 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.
“During our meetings with both HM Treasury and HMRC, BIFA 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 an 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.”
More information and grant applications can be found at: https://www.gov.uk