NI Business Supports
Information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland
The UK Government has published extensive guidance for employers, including details on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and what to do if someone is suspected or confirmed to have the virus.
UK Government support for businesses
The UK Government has set out a package of measures to protect public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following schemes and announcements:
- Businesses will receive government grants worth up to 80% of wages to keep workers in jobs. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will pay up to £2,500 per worker each month.
- Support for businesses through the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which will provide loans of up to £5m, with no interest due for 12 months. This scheme will be delivered through the British Business Bank.
- Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
- Support for businesses paying tax
- VAT payments for the next quarter will be deferred, so no business will pay any VAT for the next three months.
Northern Ireland Executive support for businesses
Invest NI have provided practical advice for business online here
Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following schemes:
- The NI Executive has launched a new NI Micro-business Hardship Fund to help Northern Ireland based micro-businesses and social enterprises unable to access other regional and national COVID-19 support measures.
- COVID Small Business Grant – Small business grant of £10,000 to be issued immediately with a cost of £267m providing support to 27,000 businesses in NI. This is for all businesses with a NAV up to £15,000
- Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sectors Grant Scheme – An immediate grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in these sectors with a rateable value up to £51,000.
Further to this, the Department of Finance has announced a £100m emergency rates package for businesses. All NI businesses will pay zero rates for the next three months (April, May, June). This automatically reduces rates by 25%, in addition to any existing rate reliefs. This applies to all businesses and does not need to be repaid.
Rate bills are being delayed until the beginning of June 2020. The purpose of this is to avoid placing financial pressure on ratepayers during what are expected to be the peak months of the COVID-19 outbreak.
There will be a three month rate holiday for all business rate payers. The effect of this is that no rates will be charged for April, May and June 2020.
The ‘rates holiday’ will apply to every business bill, including properties where industrial de-rating, sport and recreational, small business rate relief, vacant rating relief or partial exemption has also been given.
Despite what some people are saying on social media, this does not mean that the same rate bill has to be paid in a shorter period of time – no rates are being charged for April, May and June. This means that the rate bill will be 25% smaller than it would normally be for the year.
You do not need to do anything or contact LPS – the reliefs will all be applied automatically to the bills. The amount of the discount for the rate holiday will appear on the rate bill.
Business support helplines
HMRC tax helpline
HMRC has set up a helpline for businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19. Call 0800 0159 559 for help and advice.
Invest NI helpline
Get help with your business online, or by calling the Invest NI Helpline. Telephone: 0800 181 4422
There are a number of funding organisations providing funds for various organisations fighting against, or impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Details of all funding programmes listed below can be found HERE.
Charity Aid Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Fund
In this time of national crisis, CAF has launched this rapid response Fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 will help them to continue to deliver much needed support to our communities across the UK.
This is intended as a rapid response fund, and we aim to make payments to selected organisations within 14 days of application.
Halifax Grant Programmes
The Halifax our small and medium grant programmes are open for applications – any Covid related applications designed to support the community at this time of crisis will be prioritised and turned around as quickly as possible.
Coronavirus Community Fund
CHANGES to CORONAVIRUS COMMUNITY FUND – now up to 10K available & widened from over 50s to include those at increased risk, (poor mental health & wellbeing) & vulnerable isolated people & families, particularly in rural areas. Also increased grant size – now up to 10K
The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Fund 2020- Closing 31/03/2020
The Begin Together Fund will support new project-based activities with grants of up to €5,000 (or the sterling equivalent) for local, not for profit groups working to improve the physical and/or mental and/ or financial wellbeing of the communities they serve across all counties on the island of Ireland.