Assembly Written Question 9680/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister of Finance to detail (i) the delays in the payment of grants under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme; and (ii) the expected amount of time from application to payment of grants under the scheme. [Priority Written]

Answer: Applications for a 2 week support scheme opened on 14th October 2020 in the Derry City and Strabane Council area. The Scheme was subsequently extended by a further 4 weeks to include applications from all Council areas on 19th October 2020.

Financial Regulations to enable payments to be made to all Council areas under this scheme came into effect on Friday 30th October 2020. Land & Property Services (LPS) is working through applications as quickly as possible. Once an application has been processed and verified, an applicant will receive an e-mail to advise them payment is being made. This will normally follow within three working days of the e-mail.

Officials in my Department have worked as swiftly as possible to issue payments in line with Regulations without delay while maintaining their responsibilities for managing public money.

At present over 11,400 applications have been received. Once the applications are received they must be checked and verified to see if they meet the scheme criteria. At the time of this response, ?10.83 million of payments have issued to 2,910 businesses. A further 300 applications have so far been identified as not meeting the criteria – we expect this number to be greater as the process continues. It is not possible to give an accurate turnaround time on all applications as it will depend on the individual application and the amount of manual intervention required to validate it.

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