Belfast Chamber welcomes £178 million in business support grants as hugely beneficial to Belfast businesses

Reacting to the announcement by the Finance Minister Conor Murphy that businesses in Northern Ireland are to receive £178 million in business support grants to assist with the impact of COVID-19, Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton said, “This will come as very welcome news for the businesses who will benefit from this additional support.  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.

Belfast Chamber is especially pleased that our calls for support to businesses who, because they are deemed essential, are unable to avail of any of the Executive’s current support schemes have been heeded. We have made the point to the Minister that in Belfast city centre, for example, these businesses may have been able to remain open, but the effect of the various restrictions has been to devastate footfall. The top up grants announced today will provide them with some helpful support.

Similarly, the £50,000 grant for businesses with NAVs over £51,000 who previously missed out on support will be of huge benefit in Belfast where rateable values tend to be higher, and a sizeable number of businesses were not eligible for the £10,000 or £25,000 grants last year.

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 and will give businesses in Belfast and right across the region a much needed boost as they wait to be allowed to open their doors again”