News article

Coronavirus: Business Support Grant Schemes

27 March 2020

Please be aware: The Business Support Scheme Registration Form will be unavailable from 8 am to 3 pm on Sunday 29 March due to essential maintenance on the Northern Ireland Civil Service network.


Registration is now open for businesses to apply for the £10,000 Small Business Grant Scheme

Automatic payments will be made to those eligible businesses whose bank account details are held for the purposes of paying rates by Direct Debit. The first payment in the Small Business Support Grant Scheme will be made on 31 March if not before.

Eligible businesses that don't currently pay business rates by Direct Debit can register for the scheme and provide their bank details by completing the following online registration form.

Business Support Grant Scheme Registration Form


£10,000 Small Business Support Grant Scheme

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.

For rental properties, the scheme is being designed to benefit the small businesses and not the landlord who is responsible for paying the rates. For this reason, no grant payments are being automatically issued to landlords of properties with a rateable value of £1,590 or less.

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. 

How to access the £10,000 grant

If you pay business rates by Direct Debit
You do not need to register your details on the online form if you pay business rates by Direct Debit.

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 are now being processed and payments will be in businesses’ bank accounts early next week. At present we hold current bank details for approximately 7,000 eligible small businesses.

If you don’t pay your business rates by Direct Debit
Bank details need to be collected from eligible small businesses who do not pay their business rates by Direct Debit. If you think you are eligible for the £10,000 Small Business Support Grant, you should use the online form to register for the grant and provide bank details for grant payment.

Your registration details will be checked and if everything is in order, the grant payment will be sent directly to your bank account.

The £10,000 grant payment will be issued as soon as possible after you have completed the online form.

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.  Again, the businesses don’t need to apply, but, 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.

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

  • If any information provided with your 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. You will be asked to confirm that you agree to the State Aid Requirements when completing the online form

If you have enquiries about the Small Business Grant Scheme call Tel: 0300 200 7809.


£25,000 grant for business ratepayers in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors

The NI Executive is 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.


First published 19 March 2020