There have been a number of recent developments this week, which may help your business in the current COVID-19 crisis:


The Department for the Economy has announced a New Hardship Fund.

The scheme will aim to assist businesses in NI with less than ten employees that require financial support due to the impact of COVID-19.

The funding will be available to businesses which have not qualified for either the £10k Small Business Grant or the £25k Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Grant.

Social enterprises and charities will be able to access the Hardship Fund if they meet the eligible criteria.

Around 8,000 businesses across NI will qualify for this new financial support scheme.

Details on the Hardship Fund including scheme eligibility criteria will be available in the week beginning Mon 11th May 2020.



Businesses should be mindful that Wednesday 20th May 2020 is the DEADLINE for registering for the £10,000 and £25,000 grant schemes.

Eligible businesses that want to register for one of the following grant schemes should note that the deadline for registration is Wednesday 20th May 2020.



Following on from the initial announcement from the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP on Thurs 26th March 2020, regarding the £9bn economic support package to help the self-employed, HMRC will begin contacting individuals from Mon 4th May 2020 who are eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Those who are eligible for the SEISS will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a max. of £7,500, equivalent to 3 months’ profits, paid in a single instalment.

HMRC is also inviting customers or their agents to:
Go online and check their eligibility for SEISS.

In order to receive quick confirmation from the eligibility checker, you should:

Once the online check is complete, eligible customers will be given a date when they can submit their claim and will also be encouraged to update their contact details.

The claim service will open on Wed 13th May 2020 and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by Mon 25th May 2020 or within six working days of completing a claim.

Individuals are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by COVID-19, they traded in the tax year 2019-2020, intend to continue trading and they:

  • Earn at least half of their income through self-employment;
  • Have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year; and
  • Traded in the tax year 2018-2019 & submitted their self-assessment tax return on or before 23rd April 2020 for that year.

HMRC is using info that customers have provided in their 2018-2019 tax return and returns for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 where needed, to determine their eligibility and is contacting customers who may be eligible via email, text message of letter.

For further information on eligibility, please click HERE.



Following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement on Mon 27th April 2020, the Bounce Back Loan (BBL) Scheme opens for applications from today.

Delivered by lenders accredited by the British Business Bank for the (BBL) Scheme, the loans target small and micro businesses in all sectors, providing loans from £2,000 up to 25% of the business’ turnover with a maximum loan of £50,000.

The scheme provides lenders with a 100% government-backed guarantee and the standardised application form is expected to lead to a faster process with many loans becoming available within days.

The Bounce Back Loan (BBL) Scheme enables businesses to obtain a six-year term loan at a government set interest rate of 2.5% a year.

The government will cover interest payable in the first year.

Bounce Back Loan (BBL) Scheme Features:

  • Up to £50,000 Loan: Loans will be from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower.
  • 100% Guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, full 100% guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, both capital and interest. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
  • Interest Rate: The government has set the interest rate for this facility at 2.5% per annum, meaning businesses will all benefit from the same, low rate of interest.
  • Interest Paid by Government for 12 Months: The government will make a Business Interruption Payment to the lenders to cover the first 12 months of interest payable, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs.
  • No Principal Repayments for First 12 Months: Borrowers will not have to begin principal repayments for the first 12 months, thereafter capital will be repaid on a straight line basis.
  • Finance Terms: The length of the loan is for six years but early repayment is allowed, without early repayment fees.
  • No Personal Guarantees: No personal guarantees are allowed and no recovery action can be taken over a principal private residence or principal private vehicle.
  • No Guarantee Fee: For businesses or lenders to access the scheme.

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