Minister welcomes self-employment support scheme
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.”
Mr Poots 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.”
The Ulster Farmers’ Union says confirmation that farmers are eligible to apply for the self-employed scheme is positive news for members.
It is an issue that the Union has been exploring since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began, in a bid to get farmers essential support to deal with the challenges this pandemic has created.
Commenting on the self-employed scheme, UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “This announcement by the Economy Minister has given our farmers some clarity.
“Initially there was confusion as to whether farmers were able to apply for the self-employed scheme.
“Many of our members will be relieved at this news as COVID-19 has created a lot of challenges for farm businesses and all support is welcome.
“However, the self-employed scheme is not the be all and end all as it is a short-term fix and there are qualifying conditions that farmers must meet.”