Delays in paying small businesses by the Department for the Economy could lead to some going out of business, Alliance Councillor Amanda Grehan has said.
Lisburn South Councillor Ms Grehan said she had been contacted by a number of local businesses in her constituency and beyond who had applied for the Department’s £10,000 one-off grant, designed to help businesses in receipt of small business rate relief survive the COVID-19 crisis. However, they have yet to see the money materialise.
“Those businesses who have contacted me are only some of those who have applications outstanding and awaiting processing, with no issues identified as to why no money has yet been paid. That is simply not acceptable,” said Councillor Grehan.
“As a significant number of companies entitled to the £10,000 injection have not yet received it, many people are having to resort to the benefits system to survive, which puts it under further strain. It adds to the stress and confusion people are currently experiencing. Applications cannot be delayed any further.
“My Alliance colleagues and I have repeatedly contacted Economy Minister Diane Dodds to ask questions about the operation of this scheme but to date have received no responses. We need to know what the Minister is doing to expedite these applications and ensure we are doing all we can to help small businesses survive this crisis. Otherwise many will not see the other side of it.”