East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has expressed his disappointment that the Department for the Economy has no plans to bring in support for ‘sole traders’, where the sole employee is the business owner or company director.
The response came from an Assembly Question to the Economy Minister on whether she intended to bring forward support for sole traders.
Mr Dickson commented: “I have been contacted by many small business owners, that have been upset at the lack of support available to them, due mostly to the structure of their business. For example, some small businesses do not have fixed business premises, so may not benefit from rates relief or a business support grant.
“Therefore, many sole traders had pinned their hopes on the new Micro-business Support Fund. However, they were further disheartened by the criteria which excluded businesses where the sole employee is the business owner or company director.
“These are otherwise viable, small enterprises that have had virtually no business for months and feel let down by the Department. I therefore, call on the Minister to take action to support these small businesses which have fallen through the net to support the livelihoods of small business owners and ensure their survival to assist with our recovery post Covid-19.”