Assembly Written Question 13105/17-22
Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy for her assessment of whether the Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme processing team is adequately staffed and resourced.
Answer: Balancing the development and implementation of the Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme (CRBSS), alongside five other business support schemes currently being developed and delivered by my Department, in parallel, within tight timescales, alongside the need to adapt these on an ongoing basis to meet ongoing amendments to the Covid restrictions and Health Protection Regulations, requires extensive input at both a policy and operational level. The allocation of sufficient staffing resource to meet the pressure of developing and delivering these schemes remains a priority for my Department and Invest NI who administer a number of the schemes. However members should be aware that officials across my Department are operating under extreme pressure to balance the day to day activity of the Department alongside priority work areas including the Covid-19 pandemic response, EU Exit and putting place plans for economic recovery and our vision for the future. Officials working on the CRBSS and other Grant Schemes are also having to respond to the extensive volume of correspondence received by my Department which includes machinery of government requests, putting further pressure on delivery teams and impacting on the time spent on scheme delivery.