£178 Million in new business grants announced

Finance Minister Conor Murphy says the new grants will be a lifeline for those struggling under the Coronavirus restrictions. Credit: UTV

A new £178 million business support grant fund has been announced.

The new package from the Finance Minister Conor Murphy is aimed at those businesses which did not receive support during the first lockdown.

Announcing the new scheme, the Sinn Fein Minister said it would be a lifeline for businesses who are continuing to face the challenges of Covid-19.

"This package of support will help businesses and safeguard jobs through the period ahead as we emerge from the current restrictions," Conor Murphy said.

The schemes, which will support almost 20,000 businesses include: 

  •  A £50,000 grant for large businesses unable to access grant funding during the first lockdown

  •  A £25,000 payment to manufacturing businesses unable to access grant funding during the first lockdown

  • Top-up payments of £5,000 and £10,000 for businesses which received grants during the first lockdown but are not eligible for one of the current Executive support schemes.

Reacting to the announcement, Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton said it was "very welcome news for businesses."

Simon Hamilton says the new grants will give businesses a "much needed boost." Credit: UTV

"Businesses have borne the brunt of lockdown restrictions imposed by the Executive throughout the past 12 months and these grants will assist many by providing compensation to help them deal with the financial consequences of being closed." This package of support is a welcome acknowledgement of the distress and difficulties businesses face as they struggle to stay alive and continue to employ people.