The first payment in the Small Business Support Grant Scheme will be made on March 31, if not before, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said today.
The Minister also announced that an online portal, set up to support the payments, went live today. The portal provides the facility for business to register their bank details in order to receive their grant payment.
The Minister said: "My focus remains on getting payments out as quickly as possible to businesses, for the benefit of the businesses. These grants schemes - worth more than £370 million - will benefit some 27,000 small local businesses and a further 4,000 businesses in our beleaguered tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.
“Businesses that are currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) will be eligible to receive a £10,000 cash grant payment.
“Payment will be made directly into the bank accounts of those businesses which currently pay their rates by direct debit. At present we hold bank details for approximately 7,000 small businesses who qualify for this grant. Payments to these businesses are now being processed and first payments will be in businesses’ bank accounts early next week.
“We need to collect details for eligible businesses for whom we do not currently hold bank details. To facilitate this an online web portal has been developed and is now live.”
The web page is accessible at COVID-19 Small Business Grant Scheme(external link opens in a new window / tab).
The Minister went on to say: “This is a crisis without parallel and we are progressing these schemes as quick as we can. My Department will continue to work hard to put in place arrangements for the £25,000 grant for our hospitality, tourism and retail sectors and I will announce further details on this as soon as possible."
A grant of £10,000 will be provided to all small businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme. A grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000.
The schemes are administered by DfE / InvestNI working with Department of Finance’s Land and Property Services.