Business

Covid-19: £20m grant scheme for excluded company directors to open next week

Economy Minister Diane Dodds said the £1,000 grants for company directors could be increased if any funds are left unspent. Picture by Kelvin Boyes
Ryan McAleer

A £20 million support scheme for company directors in the north will open for applications next Thursday, the Economy Minister has said.

Directors of limited companies have been among the groups excluded from any kind of financial support from Stormont or London.

Diane Dodds said the Limited Company Directors Support Scheme (LCDSS) will offer a grant of £1,000.

“Many company directors who have been adversely affected by covid have found themselves in financial difficulty,” said Ms Dodds.

“I am pleased that we are able to help address the gap in national support for this group by introducing a local support scheme.”

Grants could be topped up to as much as £3,500 if there are any funds left over when applications close.

But there have already been calls for the Economy Minister to increase the payouts.

Roger Pollen from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) cautiously welcomed the opening of the scheme, calling it a “good first step”.

“While many support schemes have been brought forward by UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, regrettably, company directors have consistently fallen through the gaps and been unable to access support,” he said.

“While the initial level of support is very modest, it is a good first step which we hope will be followed by more generous resource to assist those directors who have yet to receive support almost a year after the pandemic began.

“We would hope that this initiative will be followed by further assistance, so it is vital that any eligible business owner engages with the scheme during this initial phase so that the size of the potential pool of applicants can be established and further interventions secured and distributed.”

The LCDSS, which will be operated by Invest NI, will open for applications at 6pm on January 21.

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