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Derry Chamber President reacts to COVID-19 support measures for NI businesses

These latest measures will go some way to providing support to some of our hardest hit small businesses

Derry Chamber President reacts to COVID-19 support measures for NI businesses

The Derry Chamber of Commerce President has welcomed a range of measures announced yesterday to support businesses in Northern Ireland.

Yesterday Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said that around £370m is being provided to support the 'most vulnerable businesses' in NI during the coronavirus pandemic.

An immediate grant of £10,000 will be provided to all small businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme.  That is all businesses with a Net Asset Value (NAV) up to £15,000. 

This will ease their immediate cash flow pressures. 

The Deputy First Minister estimates that this scheme will cost £267,000,000 and assist some 27,000 businesses. 

An immediate grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. 

It is estimated that this scheme will cost £100,000,000 and assist some 4,000 business.

Responding to the announcement by the First and deputy First Minister of a range of measures to support businesses in Northern Ireland, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce President Redmond McFadden said: “These latest measures will go some way to providing support to some of our hardest hit small businesses and we welcome the work that is underway by our local Ministers in a short space of time.

"Businesses in the North West, and across Northern Ireland, have been calling for government grants to be made available to address this crisis and I am glad that the Executive has listened to these concerns.

 “Immediate grants of up to £10,000 for all small businesses and £25,000 for hospitality and retail businesses will be welcomed by many of our members. However it is still important that the Government offers clarity around staff pay. Many businesses have already had to let staff go because they simply do not have cash to pay them without any money coming into the business. It is crucial that there is clarity around staff pay and how staff can continue to be paid so that they can pay their livings costs and feed their families.

 “We also need clarity on how and when businesses can apply for these grants, who is eligible to apply, and how quickly this funding will be released to businesses. The Chamber will be looking at all of these measures and is ready and available to support the Executive in getting crucial information out to businesses in the coming days.”

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