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More than 1,600 firms apply for business grants in first day of launch

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Economy Minister Diane Dodds has encouraged firms to apply for the grants

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has encouraged firms to apply for the grants

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has encouraged firms to apply for the grants

More than 1,600 firms applied online for grants of £25,000 from the Executive yesterday despite a glitch which caused the application form to crash less than half an hour after going live.

The Executive's grant for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism was one of two crucial business support schemes which opened yesterday, along with the UK Government's job retention scheme, in which an employee's wages are paid by the State, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

The scheme has been extended to cover employee wages until the end of June.

According to HMRC, which is running the scheme, employers claimed for 67,000 jobs in its first 30 minutes.

Businesses in Northern Ireland that pay rates on a property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000 can apply for the £25,000 grants, with applications to take up to 15 working days to process. It closes for applications on May 20.