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  • Small Business Support Grant Scheme

Small Business Support Grant Scheme

30 March 2020

Source: NI Business Info

The NI Executive is providing a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses that are currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), subject to some exclusions. 

  • SBRR is automatically applied to business properties with a rateable value below £15,000, though some exclusions to SBRR apply.
  • Vacant properties are not eligible for this grant
  • MLA Constituency offices are not eligible for this grant

Business with multiple premises will only be eligible for one grant of £10,000 in total.

Rental properties

Where the landlord or managing agent is responsible for rates (meaning they receive the rate bill from LPS and they pay rates directly to LPS), no grant payments are being automatically issued. Landlords, managing agents and small businesses in this situation should not use the Small Business Grant Support online form to register for the scheme, but should wait until a new online form for rental properties is made available in the coming days.

Ratepayers whose NAV will change due to Reval2020

This is not a normal rating year because the new non-domestic Valuation List is coming into effect on 1 April 2020, following the non-domestic Revaluation (Reval2020).

Ministers want to be as inclusive and supportive of business as possible to ensure that no individual business is disadvantaged by the change, so each business affected by the Reval2020 will get the grant on the basis of whichever valuation list would benefit them the most – ie the 7th list which applies until 31 March 2020 or the 8th list which applies from 1 April 2020. 

LPS will undertake a special exercise to identify these cases.

 This means that: 

  • businesses (other than retail, hospitality and tourism) that will become eligible for SBRR from 1 April will be entitled to £10,000.  There are no more than 325 businesses like this and LPS know who they are.  They don’t need to apply, but they do need to use the online form to provide their bank account details.
  • retail, hospitality and tourism premises whose rateable falls will decrease to £51,000 or less on 1 April 2020 will be eligible for the £25,000 grant.  The Department for the Economy and LPS are working on identifying these businesses.  Here the businesses don’t need to apply, but they do need to use the online form to provide their bank account details.  
  • retail, hospitality and tourism premises whose rateable value will fall to £15,000 or below on 1 April will still get the £25,000 grant.
  • retail, hospitality and tourism premises whose rateable value will increase to over £15,000 will get the £25,000 rather than £10,000.

How to access the £10,000 grant

If businesses pay business rates by Direct Debit ,they do not need to register their details on the online form.

Payment will be made directly into the bank accounts of eligible businesses which currently pay their rates by Direct Debit (whether through monthly instalments or a single rates payment for the whole rating year).

Payments to these businesses have been processed and payments will be in businesses’ bank accounts early in the week beginning 30 March. At present LPS holds current bank details for approximately 6,775 eligible small businesses.

If businesses don’t pay their business rates by Direct Debit, bank details will need to be collected via the online form. Registration details will be checked and subject to review, the grant payment will be sent directly to their bank account.

The £10,000 grant payment will be issued as soon as possible after completing the online form but may take three days to clear the banking process.

Note: for businesses completing the online form, businesses should be aware that:

  • If any information provided with the registration form is later found to be false, repayment of funding may be required.  
  • Any payment must be declared to HMRC as appropriate as part of the tax return for the business.
  • The grants constitute State Aid. Businesses will be asked to confirm that they agree to the State Aid Requirements when completing the online form

For further information, NI Business Info have provided an FAQ about the Small Business Support Grant Scheme here.

Hospitality & Leisure Sector

The NI Executive is also providing a one-off grant of £25,000 to ratepayers in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors who pay rates on a property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Further details about how to access this grant will be announced as soon as this is possible.