A number of measures have been announced by the Northern Ireland government to support individuals and businesses, to help get through COVID-19.  

At a glance

  • Business rates.
  • Business grants.
  • Water bills.
  • Organisations emergency programme.
  • Micro-business hardship fund.
  • Fishing industry support.
  • Artists emergency programme.
  • Sports hardship fund.
  • Support finder.

For guidance on other measures introduced by the UK government see COVID-19: Government Support Tracker

Overview of the measures introduced by Northern Ireland

Business rates

  • On 30 March 2020, the Finance Minister announced a reduction in the regional business rate of 12.5%.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rate bills will be issued in June 2020 and no rates will be charged for April, May and June 2020.
  • A hardship rate relief can be applied for by businesses meeting certain conditions.
  • The rates exemption for automatic telling machines in rural areas, known as the rural ATM scheme has been reintroduced.

Business Grants

  • The business support grant scheme of £10,000 is available to businesses that are ratepayers with a total net annual value of £15,000 and below.
  • A grant of £25,000 is available to businesses in retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors who pay rates on a property with a total net asset value between £15,001 and £51,000.
  • There are also two grant options of either £10,000 or £25,000 for businesses who are sole tenants of a rental property or who own and occupy a property with a total net annual value of £1,590 or less.
  • See here for information on Business support grant scheme and Retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure grant. Deadlines to register for the grants is 20 May 2020.

Water bills

  • Water and sewerage bills for businesses and non-domestic customers will not be issued until July 2020. Any planned increases to tariffs will be deferred and reviewed in Autumn.

Organisations emergency programme

  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) can apply for funding of up to £25,000.
  • Funding should assist the development of new projects or programmes and re-arrange events which have been forced to cancel during the COVID-19 period.

Micro-business hardship fund

  • Support for micro-businesses and social enterprises unable to access other regional and national COVID-19 measures.
  • Since 1 March 2020, the business turnover reduced in excess of 40% as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • See information on applications.

Fishing industry support

  • The three-monthly payment assistance will be dependant on the vessel length and a maximum payment of £4,550 per month.
  • Businesses with a Northern Irish licenced vessel and recording sales of £10,000 or more in 2019. Further advice is yet to be published.

Artists emergency programme

  • An award of up to £55,000 to support individual artists, creative practitioners and performers.
  • The scheme is now closed. See artists emergency programme for more information.

Sports hardship fund

  • A grant of £2,000 for sports clubs and sporting organisations from the voluntary and community sector.
  • New applications have been suspended until further funding is made.

Support Finder 

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has created a COVID support Finder tool that individuals and companies can use to identify applicable benefits.


COVID-19: Government support tracker
All about tax and financial support during the crisis.

External links

Northern Ireland government services

Northern Ireland business information

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 'Find coronavirus financial support for your business'