Additional business support payments agreed by Stormont

Additional business support payments agreed by Stormont

Economy Minister Diane Dodds at a press conference at Parliament Buildings Stormont. Picture: PA

Stormont ministers have agreed a series of additional support measures for businesses and workers who are ineligible for other schemes.

One will see grants of £600 (€664) a week paid to businesses forced to close that were not able to apply for a scheme unveiled last week because they did not operate from a rateable property.

Those set to qualify include driving instructors and those working in close contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians who rent chairs or operate from home.

Another scheme will support businesses that are not forced to close but are badly impacted because they are in the supply chain of those that are.

Those businesses will be eligible for payments ranging between £400 (€442) to £800 (€885) a week, based on their rateable value.

Supply chain businesses that are not rateable can apply for a (€332) £300-a-week grant.

Mrs Dodds also said support would be offered to the newly self-employed who do not qualify for the UK Government’s wider self-employment scheme.

The minister said support for the tourism sector would be extended to take in businesses such as traditional pubs.

“From the beginning of this crisis, we have directed our resources towards protecting our economy and then helping repair the damage to it,” she said.

“And recently we have seen the gradual reopening of our economy allowing more people to go to work or to run their businesses.

“Our business community has adapted because it needs to live and work alongside this virus, while it is still here.

“But this steady progress which had been built up since the start of the summer has been arrested for many. 

“In some cases, it is even being reversed.

“These are difficult times for everyone and the business community is no different.

“Once again, they are being asked to make tremendous sacrifices in order to protect everyone’s health.

“Therefore, it is crucial that we continue to provide all the support we can.”

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