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£10k grant support for small businesses delivered months ahead of schedule: Dodds

A grant supporting thousands of small businesses hit by the coronavirus shutdown is being delivered months ahead of normal, the DUP Economy Minister has claimed.

A £10,000 cash boost per eligible firm will help stabilise 27,000 businesses and is intended to save the economy from long-term collapse.

Minister Diane Dodds said officials would use the ratings property tax system for the multi-million pound initiative.

She said: "The administration of a scheme involving payments of £370m was never going to be a straightforward exercise.

"We are endeavouring to deliver in days something which in normal circumstances would take months to put in place.

"In making this operational we are ahead of where counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales are at this point."

The Government will pay a £10,000 grant for small businesses and a grant of £25,000 to companies in hospitality, tourism and retail sectors.

Payments will be made directly into the bank accounts of businesses affected by disruption. Mrs Dodds added: "Currently, Land and Property Services only hold bank details for just over 9,000 of small businesses who qualify and obviously payment can be expedited to those companies."

An online web portal will be set up this week for remaining eligible businesses to register.

Mrs Dodds added: "Our immediate focus has been on putting in place a system for processing the £10,000 grant.

"I can assure colleagues that we are also working hard to put in place processes for the £25,000 grant for our hospitality, tourism and retail sectors."

Belfast Telegraph