Coronavirus: Help for businesses in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Updated on 3 April 2020

The coronavirus outbreak is having far-reaching financial impacts on individuals and businesses across the UK, and indeed across the world. This page tells you about the help available for businesses in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For information about self-employment and paying tax, see our self-employment page.

Wales and Scotland flag images
(c) Shutterstock / danielo

⚠️ We are working hard to ensure this guidance is up to date – however you should bear in mind that things may change on a daily basis as the Government respond to the ongoing situation.

What support is available for businesses in Northern Ireland?

The NI Business Info website provides guidance for businesses affected by the coronavirus, including information on the Business Support Grant scheme, deferring business tax payments and the Business Interruption Loan scheme.

The Invest NI website also provides advice on supporting your business during this difficult time.

If your business is in the tourism industry, there is a Tourism NI COVID 19 helpline open everyday between 9am and 5pm.

The helpline number is 028 9592 5313.

Or you can contact them online using this query form.

There is information on relief for business rates and household rates on the NI Business Info website.

For business rates, there will be no charge for three months (April-June 2020) effectively reducing the annual bill by 25%.

The small business rate relief scheme will continue to apply with the three levels of relief available.

If you live in Scotland

The Scottish government website provides general information and guidance about the coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes health and travel advice, including for overseas visitors to Scotland.

You can also access the latest news and publications on the coronavirus from the Scottish government on their website.

Revenue Scotland are the Scottish tax authority, with responsibility for the devolved taxes – Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax. There is information on the changes to Revenue Scotland’s operations in response to the coronavirus on their website.

What support is there for me if I run a business in Scotland?

It is important to note that the Scottish government only has powers over some taxes and social security powers. Therefore, in many cases, the measures introduced by the UK government will apply to businesses in Scotland.

The business taxes over which the Scottish government and/or Scottish local authorities have powers are: land and buildings transaction tax, Scottish landfill tax and non-domestic (business) rates.

For 2020/21, the Scottish government are implementing some steps to support businesses in respect of their non-domestic (business) rates bills. These are as follows:

  • From 1 April 2020, a 100% non-domestic rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors;
  • From 1 April 2020, a 1.6% non-domestic rates relief for all properties across Scotland (this effectively reverses the planned inflationary increase for the year).

The Scottish government are also setting up a fund to provide grants of:

  • £10,000 to small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief;
  • £25,000 for properties in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000.

Moreover, the Finance Secretary is writing to local authorities encouraging them to listen to requests for deferral of non-domestic rates payments by ratepayers. This does not guarantee flexibility in terms of payment of non-domestic rates bills, but may mean local authorities are more willing to consider deferral of payment than would normally be the case.

What support is there if I run a business in the seafood fishing industry in Scotland?

The Scottish government has announced an initial package of support for seafood fishing companies, due to the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish seafood, such as langoustine, prawns and crab.

Marine Scotland is to write to all vessels and representative associations with more details. There is an email address for queries: seafisheriesintervention [at] gov.scot.

The support package is:

  • An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under.
  • More information is available on the Scottish government website.

Is there a helpline I can call?

The Scottish government has launched a helpline. This provides businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on the coronavirus.

The helpline is open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5.30pm.

The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660.

Callers should select option one to speak to the coronavirus (COVID-19) team.

The Scottish government has also published Q&A (questions and answers) on the mygov.scot website on the non-domestic (business) rates measures that it has announced.

In addition, there is guidance on support for businesses on the FindBusinessSupport website.

If you live in Wales

The Welsh Government website provides general information in Welsh and English on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and we anticipate that this information will be updated on a regular basis. This covers information on health, education and social housing landlords.

What support is there for me if I run a business in Wales?

Some business taxes are devolved to the Welsh government while other business taxes come under UK legislation. The business taxes over which the Welsh government and/or Welsh local authorities have powers are: Land Transaction tax, Welsh Landfill Disposals tax and non-domestic (business) rates.

There is public health guidance about operating a business in Wales on the Welsh government website.

For the 2020/21 tax year the Welsh government have announced there will be an automatic 100% non-domestic rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sector. Also, the Welsh government are offering grants of:

  • £10,000 to all small businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less;
  • £25,000 for businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors with a rateable value between £12,001 and £51,000.

From 23 March businesses can also apply grants for small businesses and business interruption loans. Further information will be published on the Welsh government and the Business Wales websites.

If you are struggling to pay Land Transaction tax or Landfill Disposal tax, the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) who administer these taxes are advising that you contact them as soon as possible:

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