Coronavirus: Financial Advice for the Self-Employed

Councils are continuing to work with the Department for Economy on a statutory self employment pay scheme.

Financial Advice for the Self-Employed

Councils are continuing to work with the Department for Economy on a statutory self employment pay scheme. An amendment to the Coronavirus bill was tabled yesterday which seeks to put in place a national scheme akin to the 80% job retention scheme; calculated differently using previous three years returns and capped at £2,917 per month. The abstract from the Bill can be accessed below.
 
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-01/0122/amend/coronavirus_daily_cwh_0320rev.14-18.html
 
In addition to the Finance Minister's recent announcement on a freeze of business rates for three months, there has been an announcement confirming that there will be a £10,000 grant to small businesses and a £25,000 grant to companies in our beleaguered hospitality, tourism and retail sectors. Together those schemes will inject £370 million, to support tens of thousands of our most vulnerable businesses and to help with cash flow. Those grant schemes will benefit 27,000 small businesses and 4,000 businesses in tourism, hospitality and retail.

Officials from Department for Economy have been working with officials from the Department of Finance, to ensure that there is a suitable mechanism to make those payments, and that those companies facing cash flow issues are issued payment as expeditiously as possible. 

The immediate focus is putting in place a system to process the £10,000 grant  but the Department is working hard to put in place processes for the £25,000 grant for our hospitality and tourism sectors.

To return to the issue of small business grants, the eligibility criteria will be for those business that are eligible for small business rate relief. There are 27,000 of those business in Northern Ireland. The Land and Property Services System will identify the businesses, but only around 9,000 of those businesses have a Bacs system to allow for initial payments. The Department are working on putting together a web portal where businesses can register if they are eligible for the small business rate relief grant, but have not supplied their bank details or do not pay their rates through the Bacs process. The rating list that will be used is basically last year's list but the Department hopes to amalgamate that with a list of those who will come into the category.
 
Mrs Dodds, Minister for the Economy’s full statement yesterday can be accessed at the link below.
 
http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/officialreport/report.aspx?&eveDate=2020/03/24&docID=299356