Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: 'Vulnerable businesses' to get £370m of support

Michelle O'Neill Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said the measures would assist more than 30,000 firms

About £370m is being provided to support the "most vulnerable businesses" in NI during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said the measures would assist more than 30,000 firms.

Small businesses with a net asset value up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.

A grant of £25,000 will go to larger, medium-sized firms in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors.

Qualifying businesses for the £25,000 grant must have a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

Ms O'Neill said the small business grant scheme would assist 27,000 businesses across Northern Ireland.

She added it would ease "immediate cash flow pressures".

About 4,000 businesses are expected to benefit from the grant for companies within the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors.

"These schemes will be administered by the Department for the Economy, Invest NI, working with the Department of Finance and the Land and Property Services," said Ms O'Neill.

She added that in the coming days she will be bringing forward "many more announcements".

Details of how to apply for the grants have yet to be provided.

The executive has already committed to providing a three month rates holiday to all businesses from April to June.

Image copyright Pacemaker

Also on Wednesday, Mrs O'Neill announced plans to launch a community support fund and an enhanced discretionary support fund.

She also said the Executive would "explore support for people in terms of rents".

"We need to look at all these issues and we will communicate all those things to the public in the time ahead," she added.

First Minister Arlene Foster announced that schools across Northern Ireland would close from Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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