The UK Government has launched a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Details on how to apply can be found here.
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 can 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. From 1 July, employers can bring employees back to work that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. From August, the level of government grant provided through the scheme will be slowly tapered until the scheme ends in October.
For innovative companies facing financing difficulties due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
The Bounce Back Loan scheme will ensure that the smallest businesses can access 100% government backed loans of up to £50,000, with no interest or repayment obligations for the first 12 months.
Trade Credit Insurance: The UK government will guarantee up to £10bn of business-to-business transactions by protecting against customer defaults or payment delays. The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.
Northern Ireland Executive support for businesses
Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following NI Executive schemes and support:
COVID Small Business Grant - A small business grant of £10,000 for all businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000. Rental properties with a sole tenant that meet the eligibility criteria may also apply. Registration for this scheme closed on Wednesday 20 May 2020.
NI Micro-business Hardship Fund: businesses with fewer than 10 employees that are not eligible for either of the above grant schemes may be able to apply for emergency funding for immediate cash-flow difficulties. This scheme is administered by Invest Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for the Economy. The deadline for applications is Friday 12 June 2020 at 6 pm.
Business rates relief: A package of measures including a three months rates holiday to all businesses in Northern Ireland and an effective 18% reduction in the Stormont determined portion of business rates compared to 2019-20.
Fishing Industry: The Executive is supporting the fishing industry through a direct grant scheme for eligible vessels.
Creative Support Fund: A £1.5 million package to support creative projects. This has two strands. Under the Artists Emergency Fund, artists whose work has been impacted may apply for grants of up to £5,000. This strand of funding is currently closed until further notice. Under the Organisations Emergency Programme small and medium sized organisations will be able to apply for maximum funding of £25,000 to help them develop new projects or programmes. The deadlines for funding under this strand is Friday 12 June 2020 at 4 pm.
Sports Hardship Fund: a £2,000 grant scheme for any organisation delivering sport and physical recreation experiencing short-term financial hardship due to coronavirus. Registration for this scheme closed on Wednesday 20 May 2020. New applications are currently suspended.
Further detail on these NI Executive business support measures is available at NI Business Info, an online service provided by Invest NI.