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06 April 2020


FPM Accountants have cautiously welcomed the £1.5 million Covid-19 support package for Northern Ireland’s fishing industry announced by Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots on 3 April 2020 but warned that further information on the details of the scheme is needed.

Commenting on the Minister’s announcement, FPM Director Lowry Grant said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic is severely impacting Northern Ireland’s fishing industry with many businesses unable to trade during the current crisis. The recently announced £1.5 million financial support package is intended to help the fishing fleet cover fixed costs for three months. This support is badly needed as incomes are under intense pressure due falling exports. However, while the Minister’s announcement is welcome, it is as yet unclear how businesses can apply for the support. The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs has said it will inform vessel owners about how to apply “in due course”.  Assistance is limited to three months and subject to a cap on total funding of around £104,000. It will be delivered via monthly payments based on vessel size with the first payments expected in early May 2020.”

Lowry added: “This new measure comes in the wake of a number of other measures to help businesses during this unprecedented crisis. With Government advice being updated regularly, FPM teams are monitoring developments closely and keeping clients informed through our COVID-19 Business Support Centre.  We want to ensure that businesses not only do everything possible to overcome COVID-19, but that they plan for recovery — because recovery will come. Businesses must be ready to respond rapidly when demand rises.”

This support package for the NI Fishing Industry is badly needed as incomes are under intense pressure due falling exports, says Lowry Grant, FPM

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The support package for the fishing industry in Northern Ireland was announced by Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots on 3 April 2020. Vessel size/monthly payments are:

Vessel overall length (metres)Monthly payment (£)
15 and over£4,550

The following conditions apply:

  • The vessel must be a fishing vessel registered in NI
  • The vessel must normally be active during the period March to May
  • The vessel must have had fish landings of at least £10,000 in 2019
  • Vessels of overall length 28m and over are not eligible
  • The vessels must be available to fish if there is a market for their product (i.e. this is not a “tie-up” scheme)

For further details, see this press release issued by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Other support measures:

The recently announced measures to support Northern Ireland’s fishing industry come in the wake of a number of previously announced Covid-19 support measures, including:

 COVID-19 Self-Employment Income Support (80% of the last 3 years average trading profit up to a maximum of £2,500. Conditions apply).

  • Job Retention Scheme for employees (80% up to £2,500. Conditions apply).
  • Time to pay (by agreement) on PAYE & NIC,
  • Deferral of Payment on Account in July 2020 to January 2021
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rules relaxed (No waiting days, 2 weeks refunded).
  • Business Interruption Scheme (80% Government guarantee, no Personal Guarantees (below £250,000), Scheme extends to £5m, up to 6 years. Interest deferral 12 months and capital repayment deferral for up to 3 months. (Eligibility conditions apply).
Latest guidance and support

With Government advice being updated daily, we will be keeping this dedicated Business Support Centre and our social media channels refreshed as and when relevant. Our dedicated teams are monitoring the situation closely, but should you have any questions at this stage, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the FPM Team.

Stay Home and Stay Safe

Contact Lowry

Lowry Grant / Director

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