14 April, 2021 in Industry News

Weekly Update 14 April 2021

This update includes details on the new Recovery Loan Scheme, a new Invest NI Supply Chain Advisory Framework and the SME Brexit Support Fund.


Recovery Loan Scheme Opens

The Recovery Loan Scheme (“RLS”) has launched, ensuring that businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance as they grow and recover from the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have availed of previous coronavirus loan schemes (BBLS, CBLIS or CLBLIS), RLS is still open to you but it may impact the amount you borrow under RLS.

Key features of scheme:
• Term loans and overdrafts from £25,001
• Asset and invoice financing from £1,000
• Term loans repayment period from 3 months to 6 years
• Personal guarantees not required for facilities under £250K
• Unlike previous schemes, businesses are required to pay all interest and fees
• Lender given a government-backed 80% guarantee but the borrower remains 100% liable for repayment of facility

You can apply for a loan if your business is trading in the UK. You will need to show that your business:
• Would be viable were it not for the pandemic
• Has been adversely impacted by the pandemic
• Is not in collective insolvency proceedings

Applications are made directly via approved banks. For further information on the Recovery Loan Scheme, click here.

Supply Chain Resilience Development Framework

The COVID-19 Supply Chain Resilience and Development Framework (SCRDF), has been developed to help companies improve their supply chain resilience and competitiveness following COVID-19 and EU Exit.

SCRDF is open to manufacturers and internationally tradeable services businesses, that deal with supply chains as part of their business, or who are involved in extended supply chains.

What Support is Available?

SCRDF provides eligible businesses with a 3-step graduated framework of support, primarily providing specialist advisory support to help businesses:
1. Identify risks to the supply chain and appropriate mitigations
2. Identify supply chain opportunities
3. Develop supply chain capability

As part of step 3, financial assistance towards the salary costs of a dedicated supply chain worker may also be available, depending on the circumstances of the business.

The programme will close to applications at 5pm on Friday 28 May 2021. We would encourage clients to apply early as projects will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis.

For further information on the scheme and eligibility criteria click here.

Protection from Eviction for Commercial Tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will continue to be protected from eviction. The measures mean that no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment. This protection falls under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and has been extended to protect businesses until Wednesday 30 June 2021.

This is not a rental holiday, as all commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. All commercial tenants in Northern Ireland are eligible.

For further information, click here.

NI Government Begins to Recover Business Grants - Localised Restrictions Support Scheme

The Department of Finance has written to several businesses, requesting the repayment of grants issued through the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS). The scheme was established in October 2020 and has provided financial support for businesses that had to close or severely limit operations at their premises under the Health Protection Regulations, put in place by the Northern Ireland Executive.

The Department of Finance has said that applications were continuously reviewed, to ensure the scheme was working within the regulations. Businesses that have been contacted by the Department of Finance to repay grants, are able to appeal the decision or apply for funding from different schemes.

For all queries about the scheme and repaying grants, you can email: localisedrestrictions@finance-ni.gov.uk

Deadline for Three Apprentice Schemes Extended

The Apprentice Return, Retain and Result Scheme (RRR) and the New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme have both extended their application deadlines until 2022.

For further information, click the links above.

EU Exit

SME BREXIT Support Fund Open

The SME Support Fund could give businesses up to £2000 to help cover the costs of training or professional advice. If your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover, it may be eligible for this scheme.

The grant can be used to cover the costs of training on:
• How to complete customs declarations
• How to manage customers processes and use customs software and systems
• Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

For further information on eligibility criteria click here.

Applications will close on Wednesday 30 June 2021, however we would encourage clients to apply early as the deadline may close before this date, if all funding has been allocated.

Please note, those who receive this funding can use the grant to cover the cost of services, training and professional advice that CavanaghKelly offer.

Additional Support

Micro Food Business Investment Scheme – Deadline Approaching

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has launched a £1 million capital grant scheme to help existing micro food businesses upscale production, to secure new markets for their products.

The scheme enables businesses to:
• Begin supplying to the retail or distribution industry
• Sell more products to the retail or distribution industry
• Move into sales outside of Northern Ireland

The scheme is open for expressions of interest until 3pm on Thursday 15 April 2021. For more details on the scheme, click here.

‘JobStart’ – A New Employer Incentive Scheme

JobStart is an employer initiative from the Department of Communities (DfC), aiming to help young people aged 16-24 who are currently unemployed, to get into the job market through government funded job opportunities.

Employers in Northern Ireland can receive 100% government funding to create six-month job opportunities for young people.

What funding is available for employers?

For each job opportunity, funding will cover
• 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week*
• The associated employer National Insurance contributions
• Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

*Employers can offer additional hours but will have to fund these additional hours themselves.

For further information on eligibility criteria for the JobStart Scheme, click here.

Invest Northern Ireland – Innovation Call April 2021

Invest NI is now accepting applications for their Innovation Voucher scheme. This scheme allows businesses to apply for a £5,000 Innovation Voucher to work with a public sector knowledge provider (such as a university, college, or Institute of Technology). The aim of the voucher scheme, is to allow businesses to access the skills and expertise of these providers, helping to improve or create new products and services.

Typical projects Invest NI support include:
• Helping to create or improve products, services, or processes
• Access to specialist expertise in new materials
• Tapping into research and scientific expertise

The Innovation Voucher call is open until 3pm Friday 30th April 2021.

For further information on the scheme, click here.

If you have any questions, contact us today.

Whilst every effort has been made by CavanaghKelly to ensure the accuracy of the information here, it cannot be guaranteed and neither CavanaghKelly nor any related entity shall have liability to any person who relies on the information herein. Information given here is for guidance only. Detailed professional advice should be taken before acting on any information contained herein. If having read the guidance here, you would like to discuss further; a member of our team would be pleased to help you.