Northern Ireland news

Applications open for new support scheme aimed at sole traders

The latest Stormont support scheme will help the likes of hairdressers who rent chairs or operate from home
Gary McDonald Business Editor

APPLICATIONS have opened for the first stage of the Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme.

Part A of the two-part scheme will see grants of £600 a week paid to businesses forced to cease trading that were not able to apply for a fund unveiled last week because they did not operate from a rateable property.

Those set to qualify include driving instructors and those working in close contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians who rent chairs or operate from home.

The scheme will be administered by Invest NI on behalf of the economy department, and an eligibility checker and application form is available at

Economy minister Diane Dodds said: “I've been committed to supporting businesses to mitigate the inevitable economic consequences of the restrictions put in place to manage the virus.

“While aimed at protecting public health, the restrictions have had a significant effect on the livelihoods of many.

“Despite the extensive range of support provided to date, both locally and nationally, I understand that there are many businesses who have been unable to access this support.

“This latest scheme aims to help those businesses facing hardship as a result of the current health protection regulations, including those that may not have been covered by previous schemes.”

The other part of the scheme will support businesses not forced to close but which have been badly impacted because they are in the supply chain of those that are.

They will be able to apply for a £300-a-week grant, with an announcement due soon.

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