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8 January, 2021 Open access

Northern Ireland Economy Minister extends closing date of Covid-19 Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme and amends scheme to allow more people to qualify

Applications for scheme - which provides one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to eligible applicants - now open until 5 February 2021

Northern Ireland Economy Minister Diane Dodds has extended the closing date of the Covid-19 Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS) that opened for applications on 3 December 2020, and amended the scheme to allow more people to qualify.

The NSESS - which provides one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to eligible applicants who started trading as self-employed between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020 - was due to close for applications 7 January 2021. However, Ms Dodds has now extended the closing date for applications to 5 February 2021 to allow applicants the opportunity to include evidence from their 2019/20 HMRC tax return.

In addition, Ms Dodds has changed the previous requirement that, in order to be eligible for assistance, 50 per cent of an applicant's income in 2019/2020 must have been from self-employment. This requirement has been amended so that, if an applicant can demonstrate that they moved from paid employment (PAYE) to self-employment during 2019/2020, their income from the previous employment will not be taken into account.

Commenting on the changes to the scheme, Ms Dodds said -

'It is important that this scheme covers as many self-employed as the budget will allow. These grants will help hundreds of businesses across Northern Ireland and I am confident that the revised closing date and change to the criteria will allow many more newly self-employed to avail of much needed support at this difficult time.'

For more information, see Minister extends the closing date of the NSESS and amends the scheme to allow more newly self-employed to be supported from ni.gov.uk