With the Spring Budget being announced today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, there has arguably never been a moment in living memory where business and government need each other more.
Here are some of the key points to look out for, which will hopefully provide a much-needed boost to the NI economy, while also posing questions as to the time period envisaged by the government for moving out of lockdown-
A freeze to income tax thresholds
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of September.
Many of the self-employed who previously missed out on financial assistance, will now be eligible for grants
A £5 billion scheme will be put in place to help firms such as shops, pubs, clubs, gyms and hair salons hardest hit by the pandemic restrictions with grants of up to £18,000.
£520m to help businesses boost their software and training.
In some lighter news for Football fanatics, £2.8 million will be allocated to help fund a joint UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 football World Cup.
The OBR will also forecast how quickly the UK economy could bounce back after suffering its deepest annual decline for three centuries last year when GDP shrank by 9.9%. In November, it penciled in growth of 5.5% for 2021. The Bank of England thinks the roll-out of vaccines will mean a rapid recovery later this year but that, held back by the current lockdown, the economy will expand by 5% overall in 2021.
Speaking ahead of the Budget, the chancellor said: "Our Covid support schemes have been a lifeline to millions, protecting jobs and incomes across the UK.
"There's now light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap for reopening, so it's only right that we continue to help business and individuals through the challenging months ahead - and beyond."
“We are glad to hear of much needed support for businesses throughout these challenging times, and we hope that through the vaccinations programmes and restrictions being lifted, that it protects many of our NI businesses and jobs” John McKinley (VANRATH Accountant).