Assembly Written Question 10205/17-22
Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether she intends to bring forward a financial support scheme for businesses with turnover negatively impacted by heightened COVID-19 restrictions, but not required to close, or in the direct supply chain of a business required to close.
Answer: The Department of Finance’s Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS) seeks to support those businesses in commercial premises severely restricted in use or now forced to close directly by the new Regulations. This scheme will supports the majority of businesses directly affected by the restrictions. I recognise that not all businesses which have been affected by the restrictions are able to access support through this scheme. I have therefore introduced the Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme to support businesses named in the Regulations but not supported by LRSS and for businesses but which supplies goods or services to such a business, or is reliant upon such a business being open and fully operational in order to trade. Further to this support for business affected by the restrictions, my Department has introduced the Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme who may not have been able to access support to date. Similarly a scheme to support limited company directors is currently under development. To provide additional support to our hospitality industry, schemes are currently being developed for wet pubs, bed and breakfasts and for large tourism and hospitality businesses. The Department has also been provided with a financial allocation for a Northern Ireland wide High Street Stimulus scheme which will inject £95m into our local economy. Any decisions on further support measures for this sector, and the wider economy, will be agreed collectively by the Executive.