Covid-19: £27m paid out under large business grant scheme

Finance Minister Conor Murphy visits Lous Boyd menswear in Newry. Pictures by Kelvin Boyes.

A STORMONT grant scheme for businesses operating in larger premises has paid out just over £27 million to date.

Delivered by Land & Property Services, the Large NAV Business Grant Scheme offers a £50,000 lump sum to firms with a net annual value (NAV) of over £51,000. Businesses must also qualify for the 12-months rates holiday.

The Department of Finance said it received around 729 applications for the grant. As of today, 552 businesses have received the payment. They include retail stores, engineering companies, caravan parks and garden centres.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy confirmed the figure during visits to two Newry businesses who successfully applied for the grant.

Liam Boyd is managing director of menswear company Louis Boyd, which has five stores around the north. He said the past year had been challenging for the retailer.

“The grants scheme and the rates holiday have been really beneficial while we were closed and gave us a bit of confidence to reinvest in the business,” he said.

Ronan Callan of the Newry-based precision engineering specialist the Exact Group said the company had been hit hard by the pandemic’s impact on the aerospace sector.

L-R: Mary Meehan, Manufacturing NI; Ronan Callan, Exact Group; Finance Minister, Conor Murphy; and Exact Group owner Stephen Cromie, at the Newry engineering facility. Picture by Kelvin Boyes.

“The grant aid and rates holiday has been really beneficial in helping us manage our major overheads and retain key staff to help us build for the future,“ he said.

Conor Murphy added: “These larger businesses are a vital part of our economy, employing many people locally. I was determined to ensure financial assistance was provided to these businesses which have been unable to access support up until now.”

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