Over £70 million top up grants for NI businesses stayed open

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Shoppers walk through Belfast city centre on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2020 as the Province prepares to go into a six week lockdown. (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Northern Ireland has started issuing £72.3 million in top up grants to businesses which were allowed to remain open, including convenience stores, during the most recent restrictions.

More than 13,000 businesses, which did not qualify for support during the most recent lockdown period, will now receive top up grants. Over 12,100 businesses will receive a £5,000 top up while over 1,100 businesses will receive a £10,000 top up.

“During the most recent restrictions, many businesses were permitted to stay open to provide essential goods and services. While these businesses continued to operate, it is recognised that their trade and footfall was impacted as a result of the restrictions,” Finance Minister Conor Murphy said.

“These top up payments will benefit thousands of small and medium sized businesses across retail, hospitality, tourism, leisure and manufacturing which were unable to access Executive business support schemes. This grant will cover a wider range of business including convenience stores, hardware stores, bakeries, financial services, engineering firms, and coach services to name a few.”

Businesses which started trading after the application process for the £10,000 Small Business Support Grant and the £25,000 Retail, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Grant closed will also have the opportunity to apply online for the top up payment from late June.

Welcoming the top up payments, Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said: “These grants will support many independent retailers who had lost significant footfall and trade as a result of hospitality and offices being closed during lockdown. Along with the further years rates holiday and the forthcoming High Street Scheme, this will greatly help our high streets on the long road toward recovery.”

Further information on the £10,000 top up grant can be found here and on the £5,000 top up grant here.