£290 million financial package to help NI through virus restrictions

Conor Murphy said: “Businesses continue to face immense challenges.. Picture by Hugh Russell
Michael McHugh, PA

A £290 million financial package will help Northern Ireland through the coronavirus restrictions, the finance minister said.

It includes more than £130 million to support businesses.

Conor Murphy said: “Businesses continue to face immense challenges.

“These allocations include an additional £100 million for my department’s Localised Restrictions Support Scheme to ensure this can continue providing financial assistance to businesses.”

So far, more than £120 million has been issued to over 11,000 businesses through this scheme.

The cash has been allocated between the Stormont departments as part of a routine rethink of spending plans for this year known as a monitoring round.

Extra money has also been paid from the Treasury over recent times for Covid-related action.

Mr Murphy distributed over £290 million to Stormont departments as part of the Covid-19 and January monitoring round.

He added: “£16 million has been allocated to support the tourism and hospitality sector.

“A further £20 million is being provided for additional funding for the Company Directors Scheme.

“And I’m pleased the Executive have agreed my proposal to extend the 12 months rates holiday to local newspapers, which are a key part of the fabric of society.”

The minister continued: “£7.5 million is also being allocated to meet the challenges of education through Covid, including resources for blended learning and support for childcare.”

Economy Minister Diane Dodds unveiled details of a new £26.1 million support scheme for larger hospitality and tourism businesses that have been impacted by restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: “Large businesses within the tourism and hospitality sectors have endured considerable fixed cost outlays throughout the pandemic.

“Furthermore, they have not been able to avail of funding from either the Small Business Support Grant Scheme or the Business Support Grant Scheme for the retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors which was made available to smaller firms to assist with unavoidable fixed costs.

“Therefore this scheme will provide support to large businesses within some of our most important sectors to help them meet the fixed costs and overheads that they need to keep their business going and to protect jobs.”

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