ENI have proposed an immediately actionable Practical Action plan to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, aiming to expedite clear guidance and mitigations for businesses on liquidity, survival, and critical business operations as they face the impact of Covid-19.


                                                                   AVAILABLE SUPPORT

What’s in place

Detail - applicable in NI.


25% Business Rates reduction

·       All NI businesses.

·       Available from 1st April ‘20.

·       Pay the 75% in instalments from July to March ’21.


Statutory Sick Pay Rebate (SMEs)

·       Cover up to 2 weeks SSP per employee who has been off work due to Covid-19


·       Employers fewer than 250 employees eligible.

·       Employers should maintain records of staff absences.

·       Employees will not need to provide a Doctors fit note.

·       Waiting on advice from government on the system for how employers can reclaim this.


Business Interruption Loan Scheme (BILS)

·       Loans up to £5m, guaranteed by government. Government to cover first 6 months interest.


·       Open for applications from TODAY 23-03-20.

·       Accessible through main banks in NI and a number of programme and sector specific lenders – see full list here:

·       Will be much easier if you can deal with a bank where you have an existing relationship.

·       Lenders can provide lending through

·       Term Loans

·       Overdrafts

·       Invoice Finance

·       Asset Finance


·       Grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief - £10,000

£25,000 grants to retail, hospitality tourism and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000


·       Available in NI.

·       Available to all sectors.

·       Payments directly into eligible business accounts (aim is by first week of April)

·       Clarity on several potential gaps being looked at by Gov.

·       Advice on how to apply within days.




Self-employed and your earnings ceased or have been negatively impacted, you can claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria.


We have been lobbying on behalf of self-employed and sole proprietors and we are hopeful that better support measures will be introduced in the coming days.


Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed from 6th April. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak

You can claim universal credit online:



   VAT deferral.

No business will pay any VAT from now  until the end of June; and will have until the end of the financial year to repay those deferred bills.



No application required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.


Tax payment deferral (self-employed)

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.





‘Time to Pay’ support from HMRC:

Businesses can call HMRC Helpline: 0800 0159 559.

For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

·       agreeing an instalment arrangement  

·       suspending debt collection proceedings

·       cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately




FAQs & Advice through Invest NI

·       Invest NI are updating a useful FAQ and signposting facility on their website.


·       Invest NI Business Support Line now advising and signposting on Covid-19 related issues.


    0800 181 44 22