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Ukrainian refugees see red tape burden lifted by new Treasury Minister


Monday 14 November 2022

During the period of national mourning for HM The Queen, changes in policy were communicated by HMRC that adversely affected a significant number of Ukrainian refugees as they work to rebuild their lives in the UK

In emails sent by HMRC, refugees who had fled Ukraine by car and arrived with them in the UK were informed that an existing policy allowing temporary customs admission relief on their vehicles to continue for three years had been reversed. Car owners were advised that they would immediately need to adhere to a new process, intended to provide relief for a much shorter period of just one year.

At a time when Ukrainian refugees were joining the nation in a moment of national mourning, it was wrong that such sudden and complex changes in policy were announced. A large number of Ukrainian refugees arrived in the UK with their cars and would also have experienced disruption as a result.

LCCI, which has decided to do that it can to support Ukraine at this traumatic time for the country, asked HMs Treasury to reverse this decision,. Within a few weeks of being appointed as Financial Secretary to the Treasury by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Ms Atkins wrote to the London Chamber to state that Ukrainian refugees do not need to pay customs duty or import VAT on their vehicles for a minimum of up to six months. The Minister apologised for the confusion that had been caused by the HMRC emails and the apology included the fact that such matters should not have been raised during the national period of mourning for Her Late Majesty the Queen.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive, Richard Burge, said:

“We thank Victoria Atkins for righting a clear wrong that was being imposed on Ukrainian refugees by HMRC. After fleeing military aggression and being forced to leave family and friends to seek sanctuary on the other side of Europe, the last thing Ukrainian refugees needed was an imposition of costly red tape. It was also inexcusable for HMRC to announce a new policy during the national period of mourning when the then Prime Minister had wisely stated that there would be a moratorium on new policy announcements as we paid our respects to the Queen. We warmly welcome the new Minister’s determination that Ukrainian refugees should not face any more hurdles now that they are in the United Kingdom”.

You can read the letter from Victoria Atkins MP here.

Ukrainian refugees see red tape burden lifted by new Treasury Minister

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) welcomed the decision of Treasury Minister, Victoria Atkins MP, to lift the red tape burden that was being imposed on Ukrainian refugees by HMRC.