What about if we get a deal? Will this funding continue? Will we have to pay back the money?

This one-off investment to support the customs intermediaries sector and help them expand their capacity as we prepare to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

This investment will be beneficial under most future customs models and will help improve the quality of training available, increase capacity and encourage investment in automation in the sector. If a deal is reached, funding which has already been committed will not need to be paid back and we will continue to invest the £8 million as planned to build customs capacity in the UK

I’m not a customs broker, but my business exports to the EU. Can I apply for a grant?

Yes. If your business is based in, or has a branch in the UK, and is currently importing and/or exporting to the EU then you can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of training yourself or your staff to complete customs declarations and handle other customs procedures. A higher limit applies to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. You won’t be eligible for the IT improvements grant.

I’m a self-employed UK trader who exports to the EU. Can I apply for a grant?

Yes. If you are currently importing and/or exporting then you can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of training to complete customs declarations. A higher limit applies to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. You won’t be eligible for the IT improvements grant.

Are these grants available to businesses based in Northern Ireland?

Yes. Both the IT improvements grant and the training grant are available to business which are based in, or have a branch anywhere in the UK.

What type of training will the grant fund?

The training grant will provide funding for up to 50% of the cost of training that provides you or your employees with skills to complete customs declarations and carry out the technical processes of customs procedures. A higher limit applies to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. The training does not have to lead to a formal qualification. It cannot be used towards the existing cost of current training or for other unrelated training.

I’m not currently a customs broker but I’d like to invest in IT improvements, can I apply for a grant?

No. The IT improvements grant is only available to customs intermediaries who currently complete customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters. Your business must be based in, or have a branch in the UK, have 250 employees or less and an annual turnover of £50 million or less.

Can I apply more than once?

Yes. You may decide to train more staff than requested in their original application, or an employee may wish to go on additional training courses. Applications will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

The following caps are applied to the level of funding available per person per training course based on the company size:

Large: £750 per person per training course

Medium: £900 per person per training course

Small or Micro: £1,050 per person per training course

The grants are limited by state aid rules. Companies who apply will need to ensure they are compliant with state aid requirements.

What type of IT improvements will the grant fund?

The IT improvements grant must be used to acquire packaged software that increases the automation and productivity of completing customs declarations and will cover the first year licence. The funding can also be used to buy hardware needed to run the software, installation and configuration, and related software training. It cannot be used to commission bespoke software or unrelated networking costs.

Can I apply for both grants?

Yes, if you are a customs intermediary you can apply for both the training and the IT improvements grants, provided you meet the eligibility criteria for each grant. Applicants must not exceed their De Minimis state aid threshold limits under European Commission Regulation 1998/2006.

Can I claim funding for Training which I have completed previously, or IT equipment already purchased?

Unfortunately we cannot fund retrospective applications, i.e. claims for costs incurred prior to the scheme opening or submitting your application.

When is the deadline and how do I apply?

You can apply online within the Registration tab. Applications will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated. If you prefer to apply offline an application form can be downloaded from the downloadable content within the Registration tab and submitted by post or email to customsintermediarygrant@uk.pwc.com (the application form is also available in Welsh and in large print).

When will I know if my application has been successful?

All applications will go through a review process to check eligibility and complete due diligence checks. Processing times will vary depending on demand but we expect you to be informed within two to three weeks from the date of application.

What happens if my application is rejected?

You will be advised if your application is incomplete or we require further information. You will have the opportunity to submit any additional information online. If your application is rejected, you can ask for the decision to be reviewed.

When will I receive the funding?

The grants will be paid following receipt of your claim form with proof of payment and supporting invoice for either training or IT improvements depending on the grant you applied for. The grant will be paid to you within 30 days of your valid claim for reimbursement being accepted. It’ll be paid by BACS to a UK bank account in the name of the person who applied. 

How will I receive the funding?

Payment will be made by BACs transfer to a UK bank account in the name of the applicant.

How will you use the information I give you?

In line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) PwC is strongly committed to protecting individuals’ personal information, including personal data that we hold or process about our clients, employees, vendors or other stakeholders. We protect your personal information by only collecting applicant data that is essential for deciding on the allocation of funding, erasing data that is not relevant in the application process, and limiting the data that we share. Relevant information will be shared with HMRC.