Covid-19 Updates: Financial Assistance for your business 

Business Support Grant Schemes 
The NI Executive has announced 2 grant schemes for Small Businesses:  £10,000 Grant  An immediate grant of £10,000 will be provided to all small businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief

Available to all businesses with a NAV up to £15,000 to ease
their immediate cash flow pressures.
Scheme will cost £267,000,000 and assist some 27,000

Businesses can check their NAV online at the following link –

The rating system will be used to identify eligible businesses. Last year’s rating will be basis for payment and businesses who are also eligible as a result of revaluation are also being identified.

£10,000 Grant – This grant will be paid automatically into business bank accounts by Account NI who intend to start paying eligible businesses for whom they have bank details from 23 March 2020. An online portal will be established for those businesses where bank account details are required, and this will be promoted via

£25,000 Grant – An immediate grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors
Available to businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Scheme will cost £100,000,000 and assist some 4,000 business

£25,000 Grant – Further details on distribution of grant to be announced soon

The schemes will be administered by the Department for the Economy and Invest Northern Ireland working with the Department of Finance’s Land & Property Services. Officials are currently processing the data to ensure that the support reaches the right people.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available
Rates Relief 

The NI Executive will waive business rates for all businesses during the next 3-months: April, May and June.  This applies to all businesses and does not need to be paid back.  Further information will be provided as it becomes available – 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

HMRC will pay a grant to cover 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs (those forced/allowed of work), up to a cap of £2,500 per employee per month. The retention grant is to help employers meet the wage costs of employees who are not working without having to make redundancies. This means workers can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary 

The employer is not required to top this grant up. The scheme will be back dated to 1 March 2020 and open for at least 3 months but will be extended if required, with the overall fund for making the payments being unlimited. The scheme will be available for all employees currently paid via PAYE and we understand it will include a mechanism to address the position of zero hours workers and other employees who may not be entitled to receive standard rates of pay. 

For whom? All UK employers, irrespective of business size or sector. 

How to access: By application to HMRC, who will also administer payment. Employers are required to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify the employees of this change. Businesses will then submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal. 

Next steps: Detailed guidance is due shortly. HMRC are working to get scheme up and running as soon as possible but recognise their existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers. The aim is that the first grants will be paid within weeks and before the end of April, however, businesses should recognise there may be a funding gap between the payment of wages and the eventual receipt of the grant which they could be required to finance, particularly during the initial roll out of the scheme. 

Further Information Link: coronavirus-job-retention-scheme covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses 

Self Employed 
The Universal Credit standard allowance will be increased by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months. This will bring payment in line with the Statutory sick pay for employees  Self assessment for tax payments will be deferred to January 2021  For further information:     

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees 
The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.  Criteria for the scheme will be as follows:  this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be
determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020 employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19 employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

You are eligible for the scheme if:
• Your business is UK based.
• Your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020.

How to access the scheme
• A rebate scheme is being developed.
• Further details will be provided in due course once the legislation has passed.

Further information:
Food Business Operators 
Have you had to change the service you provide?
Are you providing deliveries or helping with charitable food supplies?  Newry Mourne and Down District Council can help with information and advice on food safety matters. Contact our Environmental Health Officer (0330 137 4000 / 

Deferred VAT and TAX Payments 

VAT Payments for all UK VAT Registered and self-employed businesses will be deferred for 3 months for payment that would be due from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. Additionally, taxpayers will be given until the end of the tax year 2020/21 to pay any VAT liabilities that have accumulated during this deferral period. 

Effectively, this relieves the requirement to pay VAT for VAT periods ending February, March and April 2020 until 2021. Importantly, the Government will continue to pay VAT refunds and VAT reclaims as normal for eligible claims. This will assist cash flow support and help businesses retain staff. 

How to access: This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period 

TAX Helpline – 0800 0159 559 

If you are concerned about paying your TAX due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helping for help and advice – 0800 0159 559 

Further Information Link: covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses 

Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service 
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s “Time To Pay service”. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.  You are eligible if your business pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities 
TAX Helpline – 0800 0159 559  If you are concerned about paying your TAX due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helping for help and advice – 0800 0159 559   
Further Information – 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 
Delivered by the British Business Bank and 22 participating lenders in Northern Ireland this Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. The scheme will support loans (including Term Facilities, Overdrafts, Invoice Finance and Asset Finance) of up to £5m. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free.  Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.  You are eligible for the scheme if:
• Your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £41 million per annum. • Your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.  To access this scheme talk directly to your bank or finance provider Further information will be provided as it becomes available  • scheme-cbils/     
Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) 
Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies, on similar terms to those prevailing prior to Covid-19 crisis.  This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.  Eligibility – All UK businesses are eligible, who were robust and investment grade or equivalent 2pre crisis”.  How to access the scheme – Through the Bank of England Further information will be provided as it becomes available  • ccff 2020