Hundreds of manufacturers to share in new £21m support fund

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy (right) at FAST Technologies in Derry with director Mark Higgins (left) and Stephen Kelly of Manufacturing NI. Picture by Lorcan Doherty
Ryan McAleer

MANUFACTURERS which missed out on cash support in the first lockdown last year are to share in a new £21 million support fund.

One-off grants of £25,000 will begin issuing to at least 850 firms later this week.

The automatic payments are based on the ratevable value of commercial premises used by manufacturing businesses.

Firms need to be operating from a building a net annual value (NAV) of between £15,001 and £51,000.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy confirmed the start of the payments during a visit to FAST Technologies in Derry on Monday.

“I hope this grant scheme combined with the second year of a 12 months rates holiday will support our manufacturing industry and give them the capacity to recover and grow in the time ahead,” he said.

Stephen Kelly, the chief executive of Manufacturing NI said the support will be of immense benefit to the economy in the long run.

“These small and medium sized manufacturers hadn’t received any cash support last year despite all the costs of being Covid compliant alongside markets at home and abroad being closed.

“This was reflected in manufacturing firms dominating the confirmed redundancy figures,” he said.

“With manufacturing being probably the most difficult and definitely the most expensive part of the economy to start, losing these critical firms, many of which are critical parts of the supply chain and in many cases the largest employers in very local communities, would like seem them not returning to business.

“There’s no doubt that jobs are saved and that firms can invest to quickly contribute to the Executive’s objectives to rebuild the economy.”

Alongside the NAV requirement, firms qualifying for the Manufacturing (Industrial Derating) Support Grant must have occupied the premises on March 1 2021.

Businesses can only receive one grant, even if operating from multiple locations.

An industrial firm that received the £10,000 Small Business Support Grant, where eligible under this scheme, will receive a maximum of £15,000.

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