20/03/2020

Govt Support Grants To Ease Cash Flow Pressures

Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 have been made available to ease the cash flow pressures on eligible small businesses.

The Northern Ireland Executive announced the schemes as it steps up measures to protect local firms impacted by coronavirus.

All companies eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief scheme can avail of a cash flow boost worth £10k, while companies in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors with a rateable value from £15k up to £51k will be awarded up to £25k.

A total of £370 million will be allocated to vulnerable local businesses to assist with immediate cash flow pressures, the Department for Economy has said.

While the move is to be welcomed, the grants don't go far enough in the mind of Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts.

Reiterating calls for a year-long rates relief, Mr Roberts said measures to combat high rent prices on premises are vital to protecting local firms and in turn, local jobs.

Speaking after meeting with Executive Ministers Declan Kearney and Gordon Lyons, he said: "The health of our community is the top priority, but we want to ensure that there are jobs for people to come back to when this crisis ends.
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"Retail NI urged the Ministers to bring forward a comprehensive emergency programme of business support, including all of the measures outlined by the Chancellor yesterday.

"This has to include the twelve months 100% Business Rates Relief and the funding grants of up to £25k for small businesses. We also need to see action for rent relief for businesses who are struggling during this crisis.

"Given that the 2020 Rates Revaluation unfairly penalised independent retailers with excessive increases of up to 50%, we have requested that the Executive postpone or even cancel it to support our members.

"Retail NI members are dealing with the same crisis as their GB counterparts and deserve the same support from Government. Given that thousands of jobs have already been lost in the last few days, this business support plan needs to be brought forward immediately.

"Right across Northern Ireland, Retail NI members and their staff are working exceptionally hard providing a public service, ensuring that the most vulnerable people within our community can purchase food and other essential items. Independent retailers such as convenience stores, grocers, butchers and pharmacies are in the front line of this crisis and deserve every support from Government and the community as a whole."


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