- Coronavirus: Government Support for your Business
- Supporting Workers
- Business Rate Relief
- Fishing Industry Support
- Tourism Sector Advice
- Loan Funding
- Tax Liabilities
- General Information
- MEA Supports
Coronavirus: Government Support for your Business
Should you have any questions or wish to discuss any of the support available, please do not hesitate to contact Mid & East Antrim Borough Council’s Economic Development Team on:
Telephone: T: 028 2563 3562 & T: 028 2563 5036
Keep up to date with the latest information at: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business
A new ‘support finder’ tool has been launched to help businesses and self-employed to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic visit https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
Job Retention Scheme
All UK employers, does not apply to self-employed.
Cover up to 80% of small business staff wages, up to £2,500 per employee
Support to continue paying part of employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. Valid from 1 March 2020 and open now until October but new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy.
Portal is now open. Make a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme link to: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-claim-wages-under-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
|Note: new update|
Eligibility cut-off date for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended to 19 March 2020 https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-eligibility-date-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-changed-19-march
You may also find this recorded webinar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYUTorQmkCI&list=PL8EcnheDt1zhTsyhT9ak3xiXnmlvbHJJV&index=3 on HMRC's YouTube channel helpful.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
Small & medium-sized UK based businesses and employers
Covers up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers
Updated guidance. This scheme allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-support-paying-sick-pay-employees . HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.
Scheme opened 26 May further information available at: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-your-employees-due-coronavirus-covid-19
Aimed at microbusinesses which have not been able to avail of the existing support schemes
|The scheme is only open to those who employ 1-9 people through PAYE (excluding the business owner), and have not been able to access the business rates linked grants.|
- Companies – just one person on the books = not eligible. More than one person on the books, e.g. another Director who is registered for PAYE = eligible
- Self-employed/sole trader – if this person employs (i.e. PAYE) at least one employee = eligible, otherwise ineligible
Applications can only be made online. Gather the correct information. If you are eligible, you will need the following information to complete the online application form:
- Your business name
- Your contact name and number
- Your business address and postcode
- Your employer PAYE reference number, also known as an Employer Reference Number or ERN
- The number of staff on your PAYE payroll as of 29 February 2020 and evidence to support this
- Your LPS Ratepayer ID and Occupancy ID if you pay business rates
- Your VAT number if you are VAT registered
- Your business bank account number and sort code (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted)
- Details of any de minimis funding your company or any company within the Group (if applicable) has received in the current or previous two fiscal (accounting) years
You will also need to provide electronically:
- A form of photographic ID as your proof of identity, such as a scanned copy of a valid passport or a current driving licence
- A scanned copy of a bank statement dated within the last three months for an account used by your business that clearly shows your address
- A scanned copy of your PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) return for the period ended 29 February 2020
The online application process will take approximately one hour to complete. You can save your application and return to it at any time before the closing date. An online eligibility checker is available https://www.investni.com/ni-micro-business-hardship-fund?_ga=2.200752875.43944797.1589792326-742601396.1555058477
For further information visit https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-ni-micro-business-hardship-fund
Business Rate Relief
All UK businesses:
Delay in rate Bills
Rate bills for 2020-21 will not be issued until June 2020. Bills can be paid monthly instalments June 2020-March 2021. Monthly Direct Debit payment plans will be updated.
Rate holiday for Businesses
Four-month rates holiday for all business ratepayers, excluding public sector and utilities, shown as a 25% discount on the annual rate bill.
In addition, the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic will pay no rates for the full financial year up until 31 March 2021. Those sectors are:
- hospitality, tourism and leisure
- retail(excluding certain supermarkets and off-licences)
- Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport and the City of Derry Airport
Small Business Rate Relief
The rates of relief and thresholds for eligibility have not changed.
Rural ATM rates relief
The rural ATM scheme has been restored which will help to sustain cash flow in isolated rural areas.
Additional Rates Support
- Charitable Exemption for rates – 100% relief
- Sports and Recreation Rate Relief – 80% relief on the parts of their premises that are used for sporting purposes. Community amateur sports clubs receive 100% relief
- Industrial Derating – provides manufacturing businesses with a 70% reduction in rates
- Non-Domestic Vacant Rating - rates are payable on vacant non-domestic properties at 50% of the normal level.
The Northern Ireland Executive's 2020-21 Budget has been published and includes several rates measures.
The Regional Rate has been adjusted downward to offset the change in the total rateable value due to Reval2020. A further 12.5 per cent cut has now been made in the Budget. This will effectively see an 18 per cent reduction on the 2019-20 figure. This is intended to benefit all business ratepayers and help with the economic recovery needed on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fishing industry support
A new £1.5 million support package for Northern Ireland’s fishing industry has been announced by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). The assistance will be for three months with a maximum amount of total funding per ‘undertaking’ capped at around £104,000.
It will be delivered via monthly payments varying with vessel size, details are available at https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-£1.5-million-support-package-fishing-industry
DAERA will inform vessel owners about how to apply for the scheme and provide further details including appeals. It is anticipated that the first payments would be made early in May 2020. DAERA is aware that the EU intends to further amend the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to give additional support to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in response to COVID-19.
Tourism Sector Advice
Tourism NI has set up a COVID 19 BUSINESS SUPPORT HELPLINE
Tel: 028 95925313, lines open Monday to Sunday 9-5.
Outside of these hours please submit an online query via the 'contact us' form https://tourismni.com/Grow-Your-Business/covid-19-new-coronavirus/
Tourism Alliance Q&As available at: https://www.nitourismalliance.com/media/news/questions-raised-by-nita-to-the-uk-tourism-industry-emergency-response-group
Updates provided on: https://www.facebook.com/pg/NITourismAlliance/posts/ and LinkedIN https://www.linkedin.com/company/ni-tourism-alliance/
New Bounce Back Loan Scheme 27 April
Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. Loans will be interest free fro the first 12 months and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.
The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
Who cannot apply
The following businesses are not eligible to apply:
- banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- public-sector bodies
- further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
- state-funded primary and secondary schools
If you’re already claiming funding
You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Support primarily for small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts
Tel: The Business Support team on 0800 181 4422
The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80 per cent on each loan. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
Changes to this scheme from 3 April include:
The scheme has been extended so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.
The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals.
The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.
New Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Larger firms Tel: The Business Support team on 0800 181 4422
This loan will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of over £45 million. There is also an option of a loan up to £200 million, criteria apply. (available from w/c 25 May). Information available: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/larger-businesses-to-benefit-from-loans-of-up-to-200-million?utm_source=aec64b59-f566-43e4-aebe-04c79895d083&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies which will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities; support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.
New update as of 6 April 2020
Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee
Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government.
Trade Credit Insurance provides cover to business to business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. It insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment, giving businesses the confidence to trade with one another.
Due to Coronavirus and businesses struggling to pay bills, they risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels. To prevent this from happening, the government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market.
This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.
How will the guarantee work?
The guarantee will be delivered through a temporary reinsurance agreement with insurers currently operating in the market. The government will work with businesses and the industry on the full details of the scheme to ensure firms are supported and risk is appropriately shared between the government and insurers.
The guarantees will cover trading by domestic firms and exporting firms and the intent is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of May 2020.
The guarantee will be temporary and targeted to cover CV-19 economic challenges, and will provisionally last until the end of the year. It will be followed by a review of the TCI market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future.
Further details will be announced in due course https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-businesses-get-support-through-trade-credit-insurance-guarantee
Deferred VAT Payments for all UK businesses
Deferred for 3 months
This is an automatic offer with no applications required
Qualifying period 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020
Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 - 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.
Deferred Income Tax payments until 2021
Assistance for the self-employed - HMRC helpline number Tel: 0800 024 1222
Income Tax payments due July 2020 deferred to Jan 2021
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged.
HMRC “Time to Pay” Support
PAYE Corporation CIS Tax
Assistance for the firms and individuals
Tel: 0800 015 9559
Monday-Friday, 8am- 8pm Saturday 8am - 4pm
Firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities may apply to HMRC to defer tax payments:
Agree to defer tax payments through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances. HMRC has also scaled up their “Time to Pay offer” and have established a dedicated COVID-19 helpline. It is advisable to contact HMRC if you have already missed any tax payments.
Universal Credit Allowance
All claiming Universal credit including the Self Employed
Universal Credit and Tax Credits will be increased by £20 a week for one year from 6 April
For eligibility refer to https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus
How to claim - New claimants do not attend the jobcentre and should claim online:
You can obtain support for your rental costs via universal credits.
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 17-18 and 18-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment who have profits of less than £50,000. It will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.
On 14 April the guidance was updated to provide clarifications on some of the queries received, including:
- Detail of the treatment of losses, averaging and multiple trades
- Clarifications on the calculation of self-employed profits and what is meant by total income
- Confirmation that individuals are able to continue working, including taking on employment role
- Confirmation that owner-managers of Ltd companies can access the CJRS for their salary
- Confirmation that individuals can access Universal Credit and the SEISS
- Clarification on overlaps between the SEISS and CJRS (e.g. you can claim the SEISS and continue working).
FAQs & Advice through Invest NI
Other Government Support - FREE Webinars for SME businesses
3-month extension period to file accounts
All businesses but you must apply
From 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts.
Companies citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete. Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/companies-to-receive-3-month-extension-period-to-file-accounts-during-covid-19
You must apply for the extension visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-more-time-to-file-your-companys-accounts
Facebook Small Business Grants Programme
Approximately £84m in cash grants and advertising credits on its ad platform for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses.
Facebook Business Hub
Available for all businesses to access.
The funding will be launcehed soon, it is intended to help firms:
- Cover operational costs
- Help with rent cost
- Connect with more customers
- Maintain a strong workforce
Sign up for updates at https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
Dedicated bank teams are helping business customers; most are offering immediate working capital and some flexible arrangements in terms of managing cash flow.
Bank of Ireland: https://www.bankofireland.com/coronavirus-update/
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc.is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, but it is worthwhile checking your business interruption insurance policy to see if a pandemic is covered. The FCA have set up a new small business unit to respond to issues whereby insurers aren't paying out where businesses think they should be, amongst other things. This relates to smaller companies, classed as firms with turnover of less than £6.5m and fewer than 50 employees. They can now take complaints directly to the financial ombudsman.
Whilst announcements have been made for mortgage holidays and rent suspensions for individuals, no such announcements have been heard commercially. Bodies like the FSB, Chamber of Commerce and Institute of Directors are speaking to major landlords about the support they can offer to their SME tenants, in the meantime speak with your own landlord, open up a dialogue and discuss a compromise payment schedule, additional advice is available at https://www.cognitivelaw.co.uk/do-i-still-have-to-pay-rents-for-my-business-premises/
6.5m Extra Funding for Care Homes
Under the minister's support package, homes will receive a payment of £10,000, £15,000 or £20,000 depending on their size.
£17m Government Package to protect Freight Routes to Northern Ireland
- New scheme will support ferry operators on 5 routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- UK government continues to work closely with NI Executive and the aviation industry to agree funding to protect air passenger services between NI and GB
Vital ferry routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been safeguarded, thanks to a multi-million-pound government scheme to help ensure critical freight can continue to move into and across the Union.
The package, worth up to £17 million, is being funded by the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive and will be made available to operators so that they can continue running freight services on five sea routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/17m-government-package-to-protect-freight-routes-to-northern-ireland?utm_source=09c1e033-20bc-4950-bdba-ac1b4e5e0295&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
Coronavirus: Support for your Business through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Should you have any questions or wish to discuss any of the support available, please contact Mid & East Antrim Borough Council’s Economic Development Team on:
Telephone: 028 2563 3562 or 028 2563 5036
Keep up to date with the latest information at: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business
A new 'support finder' tool has been launched to help businesses and self employed to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic visit: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
Support for Small/Med sized businesses
Amplify Business Escalator Programme
Council is supporting our existing small and medium sized businesses to navigate through COVID-19 and prepare for the new economic landscape post lockdown to sustain jobs. We can help businesses realise their potential, proactively plan for a new way of working, prepare robust financial plans and to ensure an effective and efficient way of working to service their existing customers and new markets.
We can provide you with 1-1 mentoring support in the following areas
- Detailed business plan and financials to access finance from lenders
- Preparing accounts and Financial Projections
- Financial management planning
- Taking staff off Furlough and reviewing contracts of employees
- HR policies after COVID-19
- Capacity Planning
- How to generate new revenue streams for your business
- New product/service ideas
- Market Research
- Supply chain management
- Social distancing measures in a return to business post lockdown
- Maintaining products and services
- Streamlining systems and processes
- Develop your business strategy
- Monitoring and review pre and post Covid 19
- Goal Mapping
Please note the above supports can be tailored to your specific needs. If you want to access support contact and email
- E: email@example.com
- T: 028 2563 5036
Eligible businesses must be based in the Mid and East Antrim District Council areas and employ less than 50 people.This project is part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme
Advice and Guidance
Support for Small/Med sized businesses We are working with Ballymena Business Centre, Carrickfergus Enterprises and LEDCOM, to provide advice services
Contact us to discuss a way forward so that we can provide you with advice and support. The team will discuss the nature of the impact on your business and assign an experienced mentor to call you back.
Ballymena Carrickfergus LEDCOM
Business Centre Enterprise (Larne)
0330 133 2092 0330 133 2108 0330 133 2107
You can also keep up to date with the latest information at: www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business
Business Webinars Mentoring Support
Support for Small/Medium sized businesses
Council are providing a blend of dedicated webinars (accessible at any time) which follow with provision to book one to one mentoring slots to support your business in key areas of Finance, Human Resources and Digital/Online business.
Focusing on cash flow and how to access finance/grants
Laura McCourt, Business Client Manager:
Dedicated 1:1 mentoring sessions are now available with our experienced HR mentors. A webinar is available and covers key HR considerations including staffing, employee rights, employer rights, sick pay etc. To access the video please contact Business Client Manager:
Live Webinar 1 - Working from Home
Get assistance on how to work from home to (set up a remote office/stay connected with staff/ensure the security of your home office) with live Q&A session.
Live Webinar 2 - Delivering Services Online
Deliver your services online Develop new ways of delivering your services online/quick e-Commerce /Facebook shops/accept payments) with live Q&A session.
Live Webinar 3 - Connect with Customers
Stay connected with your customers/get your social messaging right/use online tools such as Facebook Live, Zoom, Creating videos, Setting up Facebook community groups with live Q&A session.
1:1 Mentoring Sessions
Dedicated 1:1 mentoring sessions are now available with our experienced Digital mentors. To access please contact Business Client Manager:
Eligibility Criteria - businesses must be based in the Mid and East Antrim District Council area and employ less than 50 people.
This project is part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.