Online portal goes live for 3,000 micro firms seeking £10,000 Covid-19 grant

Retail NI chief executive, Glyn Roberts. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Retail NI chief executive, Glyn Roberts. Picture by Hugh Russell.

UP to 3,000 micro businesses operating in rental properties can now progress their application for an emergency coronavirus grant.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds confirmed that a new online portal for such applicants went live on Thursday, more than a month after the £10,000 grant scheme was initially launched.

Rates for premises with a rateable value below £1,590 are paid of landlords.

Officials at Land and Property Services (LPS) have said they more information is needed to vet applications to ensure the grant is paid to the business in the property, and not a landlord or letting agent.

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said the trade body had lobbied strongly for micro businesses.

“Across our members’ stores we have a significant number of micro businesses, such as butchers who rent counters from them.

“These grants will be of considerable help to them and many other small businesses occupying a rental property, which are struggling in this crisis.”

Ms Dodds confirmed yesterday that 18,508 payments had been issued under the £10,000 small business support scheme.

She also revealed that 263 payments had been issued for the larger £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses.

“We are issuing payments to successful applicants as soon as officials have verified their applications.

“The first run of payments issued last Friday and we have so far issued 263 payments, which take up to three banking days to appear in accounts.

The deadline for both schemes is May 20.