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Department for the Economy confirms extension of two business support schemes

Two business support schemes will continue to pay out beyond March 31, Economy Minister Diane Dodds has said. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Ryan McAleer

TWO Covid-19 grant support schemes operated by the Department for the Economy (DfE) will be extended.

The Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme (CRBSS) and Large Tourism Hospitality Business Support Scheme (LTHBSS) were due to end on March 31.

But with the lockdown restrictions still in place, Economy Minister Diane Dodds has said they will continue paying out into April.

Part A of the CRBSS was set up for businesses required to close under the health regulations, but unable to claim help under Stormont's main rates-based support grant, the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS).

Part B of the CRBSS offers support to some businesses in the supply chain impacted by the restrictions.

The Department of Finance (DoF), which operates the rates-based LRSS, has already said payments will continue as long as businesses are forced to remain closed due to the health regulations.

DoF has also announced a £178m package for three new grant support schemes.

DfE has said new claimants to the CRBSS can apply up until 6pm on March 31. Businesses that have already applied do not need to submit another application.

The department said businesses that are eligible for support under the LHTBSS have already been identified and invited to apply, and also need take no action if they have returned their application.

In a statement, DfE said: “A top-up payment will automatically be issued to eligible businesses under both schemes in line with ongoing restrictions. Further top-up payments will be made as appropriate.”

Commenting on the closure of the CRBSS to new applications on March 31, Diane Dodds said: “New applications to the CRBSS have tailed off significantly and I am therefore satisfied that the vast majority of eligible businesses have accessed the scheme.

“I urge any remaining business owners who have not applied, and believe their business may be eligible for support under the CRBSS, to check the criteria and submit an application via the nibusinessinfo website before the deadline.

“We will continue to focus our efforts on processing outstanding applications and payments to eligible businesses as quickly as possible.”

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