Economy Minister for Northern Ireland, Dianne Dodds MLA, has recently confirmed that farmers are eligible to apply for the self-employed scheme which has been made available to support those affected by COVID-19.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union UFU has said this is positive news for their members, as it will offer essential support to deal with the challenges this pandemic has created.
‘Be-all and end-all’
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.”
Farmers that are found to be entitled to the self-employment payment would qualify for a taxable grant of 80% of their trading profits for three months, capped at £2,500/month.
Details regarding qualifying conditions are still scarce and the UFU stated that they will monitor the matter and update members as soon as information becomes available.
“In the meantime, the UFU will continue to press for support for a specific agriculture package primarily for the grass based livestock sectors where the impact of the market downturn is most acute and is already being felt, that will help farmers sustain their farm family business during these unprecedented times,” the UFU president concluded.