Finance Minister Conor Murphy image
Finance Minister Conor Murphy

Northern Ireland-based businesses, including mobility dealers and manufacturers, are set to benefit from £178 million in new business support grants, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has announced.

The grant schemes are set to support nearly 20,000 businesses that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, which will aid companies and safeguard jobs as Northern Ireland gradually eases restrictions.

Making the announcement, Conor said: “These grant schemes, together with the 12 months rates holiday, will provide a lifeline for many businesses who continue to confront the challenges of COVID-19. This package of support will help businesses and safeguard jobs through the period ahead as we emerge from the current restrictions.”

The schemes include: a £50,000 grant for large businesses unable to access grant funding during the first lockdown; a £25,000 payment to manufacturing businesses unable to access grant funding during the first lockdown; and top-up payments of £5,000 and £10,000 for businesses which received grants during the first lockdown but are not eligible for one of the current Executive support schemes.

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The Department of Finance will now bring forward the regulations needed to make these payments and will release further information once the regulations are made online here

“These grants will benefit a mixture of businesses including those not provided with grant funding earlier this year, and businesses which have been allowed to remain open but which have experienced a significant reduction in trade due to the restrictions,” the minister added.

The £50,000 grant is for businesses with a Net Annual Value (NAV) over £51,000 that are eligible for the 12 months rates holiday, including retailers and manufacturers. Importantly, the Department of Finance states that only one grant will be paid for businesses with multiple sites. Businesses with vacant properties and businesses in administration will not receive the grant.

Businesses will have to apply for the £50,000 grant.

The £25,000 payment is for manufacturers with an NAV between £15,001 and £51,000. Payments will be automatic.

In addition, the £10,000 grant is for businesses that received the £25,000 Retail, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and have not been paid LRSS or CRBSS Part B. Payments will be automatic.

Finally, the £5,000 payment is for businesses that received the £10,000 Small Business Support Grant and have not been paid LRSS or CRBSS Part B.

Eligible businesses will include ‘essential retail’ currently allowed to remain open, including mobility retailers, small manufacturing businesses, allied health services and more. Payments will also be automatic.

Last year, the Northern Ireland Executive announced £95 million for a High Street Voucher Scheme – a pre-paid card for use on the high street.

The idea was to encourage consumers to return to the high street, which means customers might be more inclined to return to mobility stores to purchase essential independent living equipment.

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