COVID 19 Update

Important Updates

06 January 2021

Deadline Reminder: Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme

09 November 2020

Extension of Coronavirus Business Loan Schemes

Government extends Furlough to March and increases self-employed support scheme

08 July 2020

Summer Statement 8 July 2020

Update 16 June 2020

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Update 1 June 2020

Changes to Self-Employed and furlough schemes

Update 26 May 2020

Coronavirus: NI Micro-business Hardship Fund

Update 1 May 2020

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Goes Live on 13 May – Action Required

Update 11 May 2020

Webinar Recording – Bounce Back Loan Scheme or Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is best for your Business?

Update 28 April

‘Bounce Back Loans’ of between £2,000 to £50,000 to become available to small businesses from 4 May

Update 20 April

Coronavirus: NI £25,000 Grant for Retail, Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism goes live, see our recorded webinar

Update 18 April

Further guidance on the Job Retention Scheme, as it goes live

Update 10 April

Recording of Job Retention Scheme Webinar on 9 April Webinar Recording

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Frequently asked Questions published 8 April.

Update 4 April

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Detailed guidance has been published on the Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme, you can read more detail in our blog Updated Guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme has been significantly expanded along with changes to the scheme's features and eligibility, full details are available here

Significantly; more businesses will have access to the scheme, rather than being forced down traditional lending routes and no Personal Guarantees are permitted on borrowing under £250,000.

Locally, banks have started to approve loan applications, Danske Bank have announced the completion of their first loans.

Business Support Grant

Payments have begun to those eligible for the £10,000 grant (premises qualifying for Small Business Rates Relief).  This process started on 27 March and we are aware of several clients who have had the funds deposited in their bank account.  If you pay rates by DD this should come to you automatically, however if you have not received it in the next few days you can call the helpline 0300 200 7809.  You could also apply online at https://www.covid-19smallbusinessgrants

We have published a new blog on the long awaited help for the self employed


While welcome there are some businesses who will not benefit:

  • Anyone who earns over £50,000 per year.
  • Anyone who commenced self employment during the 2019/20 tax year.
  • Limited companies.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Further Guidance

Further clarification has been published on the Coronavirus Loan Interruption Scheme. Below is a helpful link to Daniel Barnett's Employment Law Bulletin and also the latest Government update:

Daniel Barnett Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Guidance

Government Guidance on Claiming Wage Costs

We have published two new blogs today 25 March


New restrictions imposed by the government on 23rd March mean that many businesses will be required to close and movement will be greatly restricted.  Our offices are now, closed, however, we continue to work remotely and will be available during normal office hours via our usual phone number.  We will continue to process client payrolls and are here to help with furloughing staff, loan applications and any other business related problem brought on by this crisis.

The government, both national and local, have been making daily announcements of measures designed to help business through this crisis.  We will be doing our best to keep you informed and have included some commentary and useful links below. 

The latest and perhaps most significant announcement came on Friday evening with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, under this scheme, the government have agreed to pay 80% up to £2,500 per month of 'furloughed' workers wages.  They have also announced tax deferrals for income tax and VAT.  We have been promised more announcements next week and we will be adding them to this page as they occur.

In summary, the reliefs so far: 

  1. Statutory Sick Pay for Virus related absence will be payable from day 1 and will be reclaimable for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. 
  2. Loans of up to £5,000,000 will be made available to businesses through the British Business Bank, although the application process will be through your current bank.  The first 12 months of finance will be interest free.
  3. A Business Rates Holiday of three months will apply to all Northern Ireland Businesses. 
  4. Small businesses with a net asset value up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. 
  5. A grant of £25,000 will go to larger, medium-sized firms in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors.  Qualifying businesses for the £25,000 grant must have a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000. 
  6. COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility - Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. 
  7. Time to Pay service - All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.  These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. 
  8. VAT Deferral – for the period from 20 March until 30 June 2020, VAT payments will be deferred until the end of the 2020-2021 Tax year (5 April 2021).  No application is required, this is an automatic offer.  VAT Returns will still have to be submitted and any VAT refunds will be made in the normal time scale.
  9. Income Tax Deferral – The second 2020-21 payment on account usually due on 31 July has been deferred until 31 January 2021.
  10. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – All businesses are eligible, HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.  The scheme will be administered by HMRC through an online portal, that has not yet been developed, so employers are expected to pay their staff and then make a reclaim.  It is unlikely that repayments will be made before the end of April, so many businesses are likely to need to obtain loan funding from their banks in the interim. 


Our team continue to work remotely and will be available by phone, video conference and email to help in any way we can, in assessing your eligibility and assisting in applications for government help. 

We have included various links below, designed to give additional detail to the recent announcements. 

Useful Links 

Central Government 

COVID-19: support for businesses 

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) 

COVID-19: guidance for employees 

Local Government (Northern Ireland) 

Coronavirus: employer and business questions answered 

What support is available for businesses? 

Help available for business rates 


Coronavirus: Business Support Grant Schemes 

ABC Council 


McCleary & Company New Working Arrangements 

As a result of government advice and in order to be responsible, we have been forced into changing the way we work during the crisis.   

  • Most of our team will be working from home for the foreseeable future, however, as we have a Hosted Server and an internet-based phone system, we will be able to take and make calls as normal. 
  • We have suspended face to face meetings but intend to replace them with online meetings or phone calls, depending on client preference and available technology. 
  • A skeleton staff will continue to be in the office to deal with incoming post and client records, however, we request that you phone ahead if you intend to deliver anything to the office. 

These are unchartered waters for all of us, however, we will be doing our best to help our clients in any way we can.  Please feel free to contact us with any of your worries and we will do our best to help you in any way we can.