Covid-19 Business Recovery & Revitalisation Grant Scheme


Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have opened the Covid-19 Business Recovery & Revitalisation Grant Scheme on Thursday 17th September 2020 with the aim of supporting economic recovery and revitalisation of local businesses in the district.

This is a capital grant scheme for property owners/tenants of eligible business/commercial properties to apply for the purchase of new capital items (including infrastructure) that will help their business to adapt and implement social distancing measures in adherence with Covid-19 guidelines, which will help to protect both staff and customers.


Funding Available:

You can secure 100% funding on eligible costs up to a maximum grant of £2,500 (Minimum £500), with maximum project costs being capped at £9,999.99. 

There is one rolling application process until all funds are allocated therefore it is on a first come, first served basis.


Eligible improvements may include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Infrastructure to meet social distancing requirements.
  • Awnings/canopies to protect customers who may have to queue to enter business premises.
  • Outdoor furniture such as covered seating (tables, chairs)
  • External heaters
  • Planters
  • PA/Tannoy
  • Digital screens and Signage
  • Equipment to allow widening of footpaths to support social distancing and the safe movement of people through our town centres such as pedestrian safety barriers.
  • Any adaptions necessary to the internal layout of the business premises to ensure compliance with Covid-19 social distancing protocols (e.g., flexi-panels/screens at counters, one way systems, building / remodelling works, etc.).
  • Equipment to allow the business to operate safely and provide reassurance to customers, e.g. freestanding hand sanitiser stations, etc. Internal/external shopper collection points to avoid customers having to fully enter the business premises.


Ineligible Expenditure:

  • Retrospective items i.e. work or items which already completed or underway
  • Works which require planning permission which is not in place prior to works commencing
  • Works/Renovations which do not assist the business to meet Covid-19 Government Regulations
  • Hire Purchase of goods
  • Consumable items such as: hand sanitiser, PPE, visors etc.
  • Websites cannot be funded
  • Software must be purchased with hardware
  • Statutory and Licencing fees (e.g. Building Control Approval, Planning Permission etc), etc. Insurances, Interest (on loans taken out to fund your building project)
  • VAT (except if the applicant is not VAT registered)
  • Salaries/Wages cost
  • Professional Fees
  • Works to vacant properties and/or residential properties


Who can apply:

Your business must be:

  • Urban and rural town businesses located within the settlement areas as outlined
    in the Fermanagh and Omagh district,
  • An existing, registered private business that is actively trading commercially for at least the last 3 months,
  • Able to provide HMC self-assessment number, company number or charity number,
  • Able to provide a bank statement (or other financial institution account for the sole purpose of business, ie. Separate from personal financials) in the name of your business dated in the last 3 months must also be provided.

Properties that are ineligible to apply for grant aid include government
organisations, political organisations, churches, community and voluntary groups,
financial institutions and mainstream agricultural activities are not eligible. 


For more information about this grant please contact the FODC’s business support team here: 


Telephone: 0300 303 1777

Click Here For Guidance Notes on Applying


Applications are Now Open – Click Here to Apply 

NI COVID-19 Apprenticeship Recovery Package


The NI Economy Minister, Diane Dodds has announced an incentive package to encourage employers to bring back furloughed apprentices, or hire new apprentices into the workplace. The new Apprenticeship Scheme will begin on 1st November 2020, when the UK wide Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.


Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result initiative:

£14.3million has been allocated to fund the new Apprenticeship Return, Retain, and Result initiative. According to the NI Economy Minister, there are currently up to 4,500 furloughed apprentices in both Apprenticeships NI and Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes.

Who Is Eligible

This scheme is open to employers participating in the Department for the Economy funded ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes, who return their furloughed apprentices to work since April 2020

Support Available

The total amount payable under the scheme will be a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice, distribution as follows:

Return – £500 per Returned Furloughed Apprentice

  • Payable for the first full month of paid apprenticeship from 1 November 2020 (after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends) for a period of at least 4 weeks.
  • For earlier returners, continued employment for the month of November 2020, will constitute the qualifying period for the “Return” incentive. This incentive will be paid on submitted claims with appropriate evidence of furlough and employment from December 2020.

Retain – Maximum of £2,000 Available from April 2021:

  • £500 per month for up to 4 months of paid apprenticeship between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2021
  • The period of retain will also adjust to reflect any in-month apprentice returners. For example, if an apprentice returned on the 12 November, the return month would be captured as 12 November to 11 December.

Result – £1,200 for successful full framework achievement of a returned furloughed apprentice

  • This incentive is payable alongside any of the other employer incentives and will be payable on submission of proof of full framework achievement of the AppsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA).
  • The timing of this payment will depend upon when the apprenticeship is successfully completed and will be payable for all successful completions beginning from 1 November 2020.

Please Note: Once an apprenticeship is complete, no further retain incentive beyond the completion date can be claimed.

What Evidence Will I Need?

It is important that you retain all of the following details:

  • When your apprentice was furloughed
  • When your apprentice returned and was retained, in paid employment during the period claimed, this can be up to the total period of 5 months (1 month return and up to 4 months retained) and,
  • When your apprentice has continued and completed their paid apprenticeship

Further details of evidence requirements will be detailed in the application pack, which will be released in due course.

Click Here for FAQ’s About the Return, Retain and Result initiative


Apprenticeship Recruitment Incentive:

£12.5million has been allocated to fund an Apprenticeship Recruitment Incentive initiative which will hopefully encourage and support employers to create apprenticeship opportunities for both new apprentices and apprentices who have been made redundant due to financial difficulties during COVID-19.

Support Available

Any employers who create a new apprenticeship opportunity between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 will be eligible to receive £3,000 per apprentice. This will apply to all new apprenticeship opportunities created within this period and includes apprentices who have been made redundant.

  • Payment 1 – £2,000 after 90 days retention
  • Payment 2 – £1,000 after 200 days retention from first employment

Who Is Eligible?

This scheme is open to any employers who take on an apprentice participating in the DfE-funded ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes.  

Checks will be made during the application process to ensure that apprentices on similar pathways have not been displaced to support recruitment if this is found to be the case eligibility may be impacted.

Please Note – programme eligibility excludes public sector employees.

Details on the application process and further eligibility details will be provided in due course.

Click Here For FAQ’s About The Apprenticeship Recruitment Incentive


Apprenticeship Challenge Fund:

An Apprenticeship Challenge Fund is currently in development to promote greater collaboration between employers and suppliers, whilst maintaining the employers’ role at the centre of the apprenticeship system. This will help create room for the Department for the Economy (DfE) to take a more creative and innovative approach to solving problems, which could include, but not be limited to:

  • Shared Apprenticeship Models
  • Apprenticeship Brokerage Service
  • Employer Apprenticeship Mentoring Programmes to give managers the skills they need to effectively manage apprentices/apprenticeship programmes gaining maximum benefit for the employer
  • Apprentice Mentoring Programme to help new apprentices integrate into businesses
  • The removal of monetary and non-monetary barriers to recruitment; Identify monetary/non-monetary barriers

Support Available

The Challenge Fund currently has a budget of up to £0.5m which will see successful applicants receiving one-off awards of up to £50,000. There is also an option to increase this for proposals with multiple partners or features.

Funding will be via a grant to successful applicants following a competitive assessment process. Eligible costs will be identified in a Letter of Offer to successful applicants, but could typically include staff costs, the costs involved in collaboration/engagement, marketing etc.

Application Details

Applications for the Challenge Fund are set to be released in October 2020 and awards made available in November 2019, however the exact dates are yet to be confirmed. Successful applicants must complete all funded activity by 31 March 2021.

Further details of the Challenge Fund, along with information on how you can apply for the support, will be announced within the next few weeks. 

COVID-19 Emergency Business Solutions Grant


InterTradeIreland are offering grants that will 100% cover the costs of professional advice to address key business challenges as a result of COVID-19, to the value of £2,000 (inc VAT).

This is available to all businesses who have cross border trade in manufacturing and tradable services.


Support is provided for the following:

  • Guidance and direction to relevant government supports and help in applying where feasible
  • Emergency cash flow, people, supply chain
  • Completion of lending applications for loan supports
  • Legal Issues (HR, employment and redundancy advice, contracts, advice on leases)
  • Help businesses diversify to offer other products or services
  • Health and Safety / Business Risk
  • Rapidly repositioning your business strategy (N.B. This key area is delivered via 1:1 workshops. No other key areas can be used in conjunction with this option as the cost constitutes the total support amount of £2,000).


Eligibility Criteria

  • A manufacturing or tradable service business registered on the island of Ireland (North or South)
  • Engaged in cross border trade
  • Have a satisfactory trading history (min. 18 months & established turnover)
  • Have the capacity to deliver the project
  • Have less than 250 employees and annual turnover of less than £40million (or Euro Equivalent)


Please note: Businesses involved in retail, distribution and agriculture are not eligible for assistance under this scheme.

Click Here for More Information


Please Click Here to Apply for this Grant 

DAERA Rural Business Funding


Daera are offering two grant schemes for micro-businesses in rural areas.

Please note that you can only apply for a grant from either the Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme or the Rural Business Development Grant Scheme, not both. 



DAERA are offering Capital grants of up to 50% (With a Maximum of £4,999) of the approved total cost of viable expenditure and these are available to existing micro enterprises based in a rural area to support them to recover, sustain or grow through DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme. 

Scheme Opens:   Monday 3rd August 2020

Scheme Closes:  12 noon  – Friday 11th September 2020



For the purposes of this Scheme rural is defined as “All those areas outside the statutory development limits of those towns with a population in excess of 5,000 inhabitants”. 

Settlements with Populations in Excess of 5,000 Inhabitants are Listed Here.


Level of Grant Aid Available

Up to 50% of costs for capital items up to a maximum of £4,999. Minimum grant awarded will be £500. The total cost of the capital project must be a minimum of £1,000 and must not exceed £20,000. Applicants must provide the remaining match funding towards the project.


Who Can Apply?

  • Existing registered businesses that employ less than 10-full time equivalent employees
  • You must be an established business/ social economy enterprise, actively trading commercially and can provide self-assessment number or Limited Company details and sales turnover details.
  • You must be based in a rural area. A rural area is defined as an area with a population of less than 5,000 residents. The scheme cannot support businesses based in urban towns within your council area.
  • Only one application can be accepted per business/ legal entity.
  • Applicants must be aged 18 or above at the application deadline.


What Can You Apply For?

Grant aid is available for a range of capital items to help your business recover, become sustainable or to grow and diversify.

Eligible items include:

  • Computer equipment and software
  • E-commerce websites
  • New equipment/ machinery
  • Capital costs to facilitate health and safety changes to working practices and alterations to premises needed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Building works to bring an area of a building back into economic use or improve/change the use of the building.

Further details on what is eligible and not eligible is available in the Guidance Notes.



All grant scheme applications and claim documentation can be accepted via electronic form. You must use the same email address throughout the process for submitting your application form and any Letter of Offer and Claim documentation. 


Applications  should be submitted via the following email addresses, depending on your local council area:

Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council:

Ards & North Down Borough Council:

Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council:

Belfast City Council:

Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council:

Derry City & Strabane District Council:

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council: 

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council:

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council:

Mid Ulster District Council: 

Newry, Mourne & Down District Council:


Late or incomplete applications cannot be accepted.

Click here for the Application Form

Click here for Guidance Notes on Applying

You must download and save the document to your computer before completing otherwise your information may not save correctly.

For more information please speak to a member of the Economic Development Team about your project.Click Link below for Contact Details:

Contact Details for Each Council Area



The Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme are providing a grant to existing rural micro businesses to invest in innovation and new technologies with the aim of improving efficiency and productivity, create growth in the rural economy and make a positive climate related contribution. 

This Scheme will also fund new business start-ups that introduce new products or services to the market place. The outcomes and lessons from this Scheme will contribute to the development of a future programme under the Rural Policy Framework. 

Scheme Opens: Monday 3rd August 2020

Scheme Closes: 5.00pm – Monday 31st August 2020



The minimum grant support available is £5,000 and the maximum grant will be £40,000. The grants can only fund up to 50% of eligible costs.


There are 2 stages to the process.  First, you must submit an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) form.  If DAERA endorse your EOI, you will be invited to submit a full application.



You must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form. DAERA will use the information you provide on the EOI form to check that both the business and project are eligible.


Click Here for the Expression of Interest (EOI) Application

Click Here for the Expression of Interest (EOI) Guidance Notes


Completed Expression of Interest applications must be e-mailed to the following email:



If invited to submit a full application, you will have to provide more information that will allow DAERA to further assess your project and your business.  The section titled ‘Full Application – What we look for’ in Section 3 of the Scheme Brochure linked below will give you an overview of what they will assess.


Full information on who can apply, what is eligible for assistance, and how to apply is detailed in the Scheme Information Brochure below.




Funding for these grants is limited and a competitive process will apply.  There is therefore no guarantee that your application will be successful. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Summer Economic Statement – Summary


Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Summer Economic Update speech to the House of Commons today, Wednesday 8th July 2020. The key aspect of his speech was to “Protect, Support and Create” jobs. 

The main points discussed in his second stage recovery plan have been summarised below:-


Step 1 – Supporting Jobs

Furlough/ job retention scheme – the furlough scheme will continue to wind down gradually, protecting jobs until October 2020, as originally planned.


Job Retention Bonus

  • Any employer who brings an employee back off furlough, and keeps them in a job until the end of January, will get a £1,000 bonus.
  • This £1,000 bonus can be claimed for each employee brought back full time from furlough.
  • To get the bonus, firms must pay at least £520 each month from November to the end of January.


Kick Start Scheme

  • This fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
  • The government will cover 100% of the costs for a minimum 25-hour week at national minimum wage, with a maximum grant of £6,500 per new recruit.
  • National Minimum Wage is as follows:

        – £4.55 for under 18s,

        – £6.45 for 18 to 20-year-olds, and

        – £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds.

  • Employers will be able to top up that payment if they wish.
  • These roles that are opening to young people must include quality training and various opportunities to build their skills in the workplace.
  • This scheme will open for applications in August and there is currently no cap on the number of places funded.



  • For the next six months the government are going to pay employers to create and offer new apprenticeships.
  • Employers can receive £2,000 per apprentice between the ages 16 and 24
  • Employers can receive £1,500 per apprentice ages 25+
  • This money will be in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16 to 18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.


Step 2 – Job creation

Announcement today is for England only and the plan will create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects with a focus on energy-saving improvements to go green.

Funds are to be made available to Northern Ireland and more specific detail will be announced by the Northern Ireland Executive in the coming weeks.


Step 3 – Protect jobs

The chancellor has announced two measures to protect jobs with particular focus put on the worst hit sector, the Hospitality & Tourism sector:


1st measure

  • VAT for hospitality and tourism related activities will be cut to 5% as opposed to the current 20% and this will apply to food, accommodation and attractions for the next 6 months.
  • Starting Wednesday 15th July 2020 and ending 31st January 2021.
  • This temporary VAT cut for the hospitality sector does not include alcoholic drinks.


2nd measure

  • For the month of August 2020 everyone will receive an “Eat Out to Help Out” discount of 50% on all sit-down meals purchased from participating restaurants, bars, pubs or cafes between Monday to Wednesday;
  • Cap at £10 per head, including children.
  • As a customer you do not need to do anything to claim your discount from the participating businesses, it will be automatically applied to your meal so long as the venue has signed up to the Government’s scheme.
  • The discount can be used “unlimited times” on eligible days when dining in but will only include non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a simple website which is open from Monday 13th July 2020. Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within 5 working days.


Stamp Duty

Property transactions fell by 50% in the last few months, therefore to increase this market again:

  • The government has increased the 0% stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 for property sales in England and Northern Ireland.
  • People buying second homes and buy-to-let properties will also benefit, but will still have to pay the extra duty at 3% that is due on the entire price.
  • The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500 and nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year, will pay no stamp duty at all.
  • This takes effect from today until 31st March 2021.



Employers will not have to pay any tax on coronavirus swab tests provided for their staff. 

Covid-19 General Update


Updated 10th July 2020

1. Defer your Self Assessment Payment on Account

You have the option to defer your second payment on account if you are:

  • registered in the UK for Self Assessment
  • and finding it difficult to make your second payment on account by 31st July 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus.

You can still make the payment by 31 July 2020 as normal if you’re able to do so.

HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount of the deferred payment on account, provided it’s paid on or before 31 January 2021.

The usual interest, penalties and collection procedures will apply to missed payments after 31st January 2021.

You will still need to submit your Self Assessment tax return to HMRC on time.

If you Choose to Defer your Payment on Account (POA)

Choosing to defer your POA will not stop you from being entitled to other coronavirus support that HMRC provides.

You also do not need to tell HMRC that you’re deferring your payment on account as this will automatically be applied if you do not pay what is owed before 31st July 2020.

You must make your second payment on account on or before 31 January 2021 if you choose to defer. Other payments you may have to make by this date include any:

  • balancing payment due for the 2019 to 2020 tax year
  • first payment on account due for the 2020 to 2021 tax year

You can check payments you need to make towards your next tax bill by signing in to your online account.

There are many options open to you in terms of paying your Self Assessment Payment on Account.

  • Payment in Full – You can pay your second payment on account bill in full any time between 31 July 2020 and 31 January 2021 using the online service.
  • Payment in Installments – You need to contact HMRC if you already have overdue tax which you’re paying through a Time to Pay instalment arrangement and want to include your second payment on account in that arrangement.If you do not have other overdue taxes, you can make your payment in instalments any time between now and 31 January 2021 by setting up a budget payment plan.
  • Payments by Direct Debit – If you choose to defer and normally make your payments on account by Direct Debit, you should cancel your Direct Debit through your bank as soon as possible so that HMRC will not automatically collect any payment due. You can cancel online if you’re registered for online banking.


2. VAT

If you’re a UK VAT-registered business that deferred VAT payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you now need to:

  • Set-up cancelled Direct Debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment
  • Continue to submit VAT returns as normal, and on time
  • Pay the VAT in full on payments due after 30 June

Any VAT payments you have deferred between 20 March and 30 June should be paid in full on or before 31 March 2021.


3. SEISS – Deadline for Claiming the 1st Grant is 13th July

The 2nd and final grant is available from August for businesses who have been adversely affected on or after 14th July 2020.

Click Here for More Information on the 2nd  and Final SEISS Grant.


4. Summer Economic Update
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered his “Summer Economic Update” on Wednesday 8th July 2020. 

Throughout his statement, Chancellor Sunak announced various new schemes to help stabilise the UK economy as we all begin to slowly creep out of COVID-19’s shadow.

Please Click Here for a Summary on his Statement 

Abac is Re-opening and is Ready for Business!


We are pleased to announce our office is re-opening on Monday 20th July 2020.

Due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic we have implemented a number of social distancing measures to ensure we keep our team and clients as safe as possible.
Some of our staff are working remotely and where possible we are encouraging clients to contact us via telephone, email and have online meetings with us via Zoom.
Arrival to the office, for any reason, will be strictly by appointment only, during the hours of:
9am – 5pm          Monday – Thursday
9am – 1pm          Fridays
If you would like to make an appointment or to speak to a member of our team, please contact our office on:

028 8224 7222.
As always, we will continue to monitor the situation and will follow the latest government advice.
We’d like to thank you for your co-operation and continued support during these extraordinary times. 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme 2nd Claim


The online service for the SEISS Scheme is now available through the website linked below. When checking your eligibility via the link below, you can then make your claim from the date that HMRC assigns to you. 

You can still claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant and you will still be able to make a claim from Monday 17 August 2020.  The claiming process is similar to the first SEISS grant application, however one key difference is that in order to claim for the second and final grant your business has to have been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.

Claims for the first grant are now closed. If you want to claim the second and final grant you must make your claim on or before 19 October 2020. 

This grant will still be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,750 in total. (The last grant if you were eligible was for 80% rather than 70% so the amount you will receive this time will be 87.5% of what you claimed the last time).

HMRC will work out your eligibility the same way as the first grant. If you make a claim for the second grant, you will have to confirm that your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 and HMRC have provided the examples below.

You must make the claim yourself. You must not ask your tax agent or adviser to claim on your behalf as this will trigger a fraud alert, which will delay your payment.

Check Your Eligibility and Make Your Claim for the Second SEISS Grant Here.

To check your eligibility and make your claim you will need:

  • Your UTR Number 
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Details to the government gateway account used to make your 1st SEISS grant claim.
  • UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted) including:
    • Bank account number
    • Sort code
    • Name on the account
    • Your address linked to your bank account

Please note: You do not have to make the claim with your business bank account, if preferred you can use a personal account.


Adversely Affected Examples:

The guidelines are not very specific, basically if you have the same level of work in the period post 14 July as you would have had before COVID-19 then you would not be entitled to claim under this second traunche, if you have less work then we would believe you have been adversely affected.