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Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has welcomed confirmation that farmers can apply for the UK Government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme which provides support following the negative impacts of COVID-19.

Minister Poots has urged eligible farmers to avail of the funding, which will go some way towards easing the financial difficulties they face.

Those farmers eligible will receive a taxable grant worth up to 80% of their average trading profit in previous years. HMRC will pay this, capped at £2,500 a month, for a period of three months and this will be paid in one instalment.

The Minister said: “Farmers are facing severe financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. I am pleased that farmers can avail of the Government’s scheme whereby self-employed businesses can apply for taxable grant up to 80% of their trading profits for three months.

“It will provide some help at this difficult time for farmers and their families but I recognise that it’s not enough. I will continue to press the Government and EU for a support package for farmers in Northern Ireland.

“We all now recognise the invaluable contribution the farming sector is making, not only in our fight against COVID-19, but also to our daily, normal lives, where fresh, high-quality, local produce is always available on the shelves and on our tables. For that, I want to thank-you.”

The Minister further added: “In the current difficult climate I would also strongly advise any farmer who wishes to seek advice on business, technical or environment aspects of their farm to contact their local CAFRE Adviser. The contact details are 0300 200 7843.”

In order to be eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, farmers must:

  • be self-employed
  • have business profits under £50,000
  • have submitted a self-assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
  • have traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • be trading when applying, or would be except for coronavirus
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • have lost trading profits due to coronavirus

HMRC will aim to contact those farmers eligible for the scheme by mid-May 2020 and invite them to claim using the GOV.UK online service. If unable to claim online an alternative way to claim will be available.

HMRC will pay the grant directly into the farmer’s bank account. More details are available from – https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-claim-grant-through-self-employment-income-support-scheme