HMRC customs easement will make moving aid and donations for Ukraine refugees easier

By Simon Artymiuk   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 12th March 2022 7:00 am
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Refugees crossing a checkpoint in a Ukrainian city - HMRC is now making it easier for people in the UK to take supplies of aid to Europe. Picture: Photo 242759111 / Refugees © Palinchak | Dreamstime.com

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MOVING aid and donations to the people of Ukraine will be made easier thanks to a customs easement, the UK Government has announced.

The easement comes into effect immediately and an HMRC spokesperson said: “The simplification of customs processes will apply to goods intended to support those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine which are exported from GB.

“Provided the goods are not exported to, or through, Russia or Belarus, then these simplified processes apply to qualifying goods regardless of the destination to allow maximum flexibility to get aid to where the need is greatest.

“The Government still recommends that organisations and people who would like to help should donate cash through trusted charities and aid organisations, rather than donating goods. Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it’s needed and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what’s most needed.

“However, businesses, charities and community organisations sending aid from GB ports will be able to make a customs declaration by speaking to customs officers or simply by the act of driving through a port.

“They will no longer need to complete and submit electronic customs declarations to HMRC before exporting these goods, and smaller movements will not need to use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service to pass through ports where it is in operation.

“The easement will also remove other customs formalities, such as needing to notify HMRC when the goods have been exported.

The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer QC MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “People and businesses across the UK have already responded with immense generosity, donating millions of pounds to support those forced to flee their homes as a result of the war in Ukraine.

“Government advice remains that the best way to help the Ukrainian people is to donate money through the Disasters Emergency Committee or other trusted charities.

“However, we appreciate that people and businesses may still wish to donate aid directly to the region, so this new customs easement will ensure that humanitarian aid is fast-tracked from GB to help those most affected.”

The easement, which excludes all controlled goods and dual use goods, will be in place for a limited time, which will be announced in due course.

Anyone requiring advice about transporting humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees can contact the free-to-use Export Support Service (ESS) or ESS helpline 0300 303 8955 which can be used by individuals, businesses or charities.

The UK has committed a £220 million humanitarian aid package for Ukraine to help aid agencies respond to the deteriorating situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to basic necessities and medical supplies.

This humanitarian aid takes the UK’s overall support for Ukraine during the current crisis to nearly £400 million, after a £100 million economic package for Ukraine was announced earlier this month.

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