Support and advice for small businesses
There are steps that local businesses can take to reduce the risks when market conditions are challenging or uncertain. You will also find sources of support and advice to help manage the circumstances.
Energy bill support
Energy Bill Relief Scheme
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) for non-domestic customers provides energy bill relief for businesses in Northern Ireland. Discounts will automatically apply to energy usage between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.
The scheme will be available to everyone on a non-domestic contract, including businesses, voluntary sector organisations such as charities public sector organisations such as schools, hospitals and care homes.
Read more on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for non-domestic customers in Northern Ireland.
Energy Bills Discount Scheme
On 9 January 2023, the United Kingdom government announced a new energy scheme for businesses, charities, and the public sector, in advance of the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme finishing on 31 March 2023.
The replacement Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) will start on 1 April 2023 and provide eligible UK businesses and other non-domestic energy users with a discount on high energy bills until 31 March 2024.
For more detail, see the Energy Bills Discount Scheme.
Other energy support for businesses
There is a range of ongoing support from other organisations and schemes to support businesses with their energy costs. These include:
Invest Northern Ireland
Invest NI offers advice, support, and funding that can help your business operate more efficiently, minimise waste and reduce costs. You can also access a Sustainability Report for your business that will enable you to measure, monitor, and report on the environmental performance across key areas of your operations including raw materials, energy, carbon, packaging, biodiversity, and waste.
The Consumer Council offers practical tips to help businesses with energy bills including, tools to help you switch energy suppliers and maximise energy efficiency. They also provide tips on reducing water bills and money-saving measures to use transport more efficiently and effectively. Find Consumer Council advice to help your business save money.
The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund
The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) supports manufacturers in Northern Ireland with high energy use to cut their energy bills and emissions by investing in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies.
nibusinessinfo.co.uk guidance provides practical tips for saving energy and cutting business bills.
- Ten simple energy-saving tips for your business
- Save money by using energy more efficiently
- Managing your energy use
- Office equipment energy efficiency
- Compressed air energy efficiency
- Process control systems for energy efficiency
- Lighting energy efficiency
- Monitoring and metering your energy use
- How to use heating and hot water systems efficiently
- Saving money with energy-efficient motors
Funding support for other areas of your businesses
Aside from support with energy costs, there is funding support to help local businesses in other areas of their business. These include:
- a number of business rate reliefs available to assist Northern Ireland ratepayers
- tax reliefs and allowances from HMRC if you run a business, employ people or are self-employed
- employer expenses and benefits that offer access to exemptions and allowances
- if you cannot pay your tax bill in full, you may be eligible to set up a payment plan to pay it in instalments through the HMRC Time to Pay service
- local publicly-funded and not-for-profit source of financial assistance and free advice services
Help and advice for managing debt
Many businesses run into financial difficulties, and it can be a stressful position to be in, but there are dedicated organisations that can help you.
Online debt advice services
Online services on debt advice are secure, and you can get immediate, personalised help. Some services are available 24 hours a day. Access online support with:
Our guide explains when and how to seek debt help and where to find guidance on avoiding debt. You will also find sources of debt advice for businesses in financial difficulty or facing insolvency. See business debt: help and advice.
Telephone debt advice services
Telephone debt services are usually available on weekdays, evenings, and Saturdays. You can speak directly with an expert adviser.
|0800 915 4604
|0800 280 2816
|StepChange Debt Charity
|0800 138 1111