Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has called on the Economy Minister to provide further grant support to those who have not been able to access the COVID-19 grant schemes to date.
The party’s Economy Spokesperson said:
“£410 million was made available to the Department for the Economy for grant support to businesses impacted by COVID-19, however we now know there has been underspend across the support schemes.
“I have repeatedly called for a widening of the criteria to the Hardship Fund as a number of groups of businesses and entrepreneurs were not eligible for support either from this scheme or the £10K and £25K grants.
“This includes Social Enterprises with charitable status, sole traders and the newly self-employed, small manufacturing businesses that were unable to access the £10K grants, childcare providers, and other businesses in the sectors most impacted whose premises size ruled them out of support and that have not yet been able to reopen, such as hospitality, tourism, leisure and events.
“I have written to the Economy Minister urging her to prioritise these groups in a further bid to the Executive for business support.
“As businesses reopen they will be required to put in place social distancing measures or PPE, this grant support could also be utilised to enable them to do that and therefore get back to doing business.”