Grants and incentives
Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following schemes:
COVID Small Business Grant - A grant of £10,000 for all small businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (that is, all businesses with a NAV up to £15,000).
Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sectors Grant Scheme - A grant of £25,000 for companies in these sectors with a rateable value from £15,000 up to £51,000.
Hardship Fund to help micro-businesses - A grant of £10,000 for businesses with less than ten employees that did not qualify for either the £10,000 Small Business Grant or the £25,000 sector specific grant
The first two grants are currently open for applications and many businesses have now received the £10,000 grant. Details on the Hardship Fund, including scheme eligibility criteria will be available in the week beginning 11 May 2020. Note that applications for all three grants close on Wednesday 20 May.
There will be a three-month rates holiday for all business ratepayers, excluding public sector and utilities. The effect of this is that no rates will be charged for April, May and June 2020. This will be shown as a 25 per cent discount on the annual rate bill for business ratepayers. In addition, the regional rate has been adjusted downward to offset the change in the total rateable value due to Reval2020. A further 12.5 percent cut has now been made in the NI Executive’s budget whereby businesses should see an 18 per cent reduction on the 2019-20 figure.
These are NI specific initiatives. The grants schemes closely mirror those announced for England that specifically apply to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The rates reduction is quite different – in NI all businesses get a 3-month rates break followed by a reduction in annual rates payable. But in England those operating in the retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery sectors will pay no rates for the next year. Otherwise there is no reduction in rates for other businesses.