Equity welcomes grants for self-employed workers in Northern Ireland

Equity welcomes yesterday's announcements of two new grants for self-employed workers in Northern Ireland, which will allow individuals excluded from the Self Employed Income Support Scheme to access much needed financial support.

Yesterday the Newly Self Employed Scheme (NSESS), a new Covid-19 support scheme, was announced by Economy Minister Diane Dodds. It will offer an initial one-off taxable grant of £3500 to newly self employed individuals that meet the criteria, which include commencement of trading as self-employed between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020. This new scheme will enable support to be provided to approximately 2900 newly self-employed individuals. 

A further round of the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP) has also been announced, which will allow applicants experiencing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19 to apply for support of up to £5000, or £7500 for disabled individuals with support costs. This round of funding will be drawn from the additional £3.25 million of funding announced by the Department of Communities yesterday.

Adam Adnyana, Equity's Scotland and Northern Ireland National Organiser, said: "Equity has consistently called for targeted support in Northern Ireland for those members who have been unable to access the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). These grants are a positive step and we will continue to raise the concerns of freelance workers in our ongoing discussions with the Northern Ireland government departments as we seek greater long term support."

The newly self-employed scheme opens for applications on Thursday 3 December, and the IERP will open for applications on Thursday 17 December. If you have any questions about either scheme or about working in the entertainment industries in Northern Ireland, you can sign up to attend our Zoom session on Northern Ireland on Thursday 17 December [full link below].

Equity Zooms In On... Northern Ireland: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/equity-zooms-in-on-northern-ireland-tickets-130592396373