£70m Budget boost for SMEs in Northern Ireland
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak is expected to announce £70 million in funding in Wednesday's Budget to help thousands of small and medium sized enterprises in Northern Ireland.
The funding will build on the British Business Bank's existing programmes in the north, working closely with local partners, and will help SMEs to invest and grow.
It will build on the success of existing funds in other parts of the UK, which have been shown to support the creation of high-paying high productivity jobs and the upskilling of existing workforces.
The fund will provide loans for start-ups looking to borrow smaller amounts to kick-start activity, or for established SMEs looking for larger investments to grow their business.
Chancellor Sunak said: “Northern Ireland is a powerhouse of ingenuity, and the Government is continuing to support small businesses to grow and succeed.”
It comes as workers on the minimum wage are set for a pay boost from April, with the rate for those aged over 23 rising from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour - equivalent to more than £1,000 extra a year before tax.
It will also be announced during the Budget and follows the recommendation of independent advisers the Low Pay Commission.