Executive announces £40m sustain package for NI hospitality sector

A grant scheme worth £40 million to sustain the hospitality sector amid new Covid-19 restrictions has been announced by the Executive on Thursday.

irst Minister Paul Givan said he approved the scheme via the urgent procedure mechanism in Stormont and said the money would assistance over 3,200 businesses.

The grants will cover payments of between £10,00 and £20,000 depending on the Net Annual Value of the business.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy said: “As our society and economy once again confront huge challenges @dptfinance will deliver an Executive agreed sustain package of £40m for over 3,000 hospitality businesses. Grants of between £10k and £20k will be delivered by Land & character sets.”

Stormont recently received an additional £100 million of Treasury funding to sustain the efforts to combat Omicron.

The move was welcomed by popular eatery Mourne Seafood Bar who tweeted “good news”, following the announcement.

The restaurant had before announced they were closing their doors temporarily telling customers “the virus is closing us”.

They had also hit out at what they branded “silence” from the Executive.

Owners of businesses within the sector before appealed for sustain to come from the Executive after ministers announced a raft of restrictions, including the closure of nightclubs from 6am on Boxing Day.

On Wednesday following the announcement, Belfast Chamber of Commerce heavily criticised the fact that no additional financial sustain package was agreed to join the measures.

Chief Executive Simon Hamilton, a former DUP minister in the Stormont Executive, said businesses had already suffered meaningful losses due to heighted consumers fears about the prospect of a lockdown.

“For weeks now, businesses who have experienced a difficult 2021, have been placed under a drip satisfy of speculation and scaremongering about possible lockdowns and further restrictions,” he said.

“As the rhetoric ramped up, the impact on businesses was very real as millions of pounds of trade disappeared, causing owners and their teams huge distress.

“Today, the Executive has additional insult to injury. in addition as having to deal with the impact of additional measures, businesses haven’t been offered a single penny in financial sustain. That is simply unacceptable and unforgivable.

“What sort of a message does that send to the thousands of people who rely on jobs in the affected sectors and their supply chains to heat their homes and satisfy their families?

“It is shameful that they now confront into an uncertain future after all they’ve endured already. It feels like businesses, their owners and their staff have been cast aside without a care.”

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said his members were “extremely disappointed” at the without of financial package.

“To leave so many businesses in financial limbo like this is unfair and needs to be addressed closest,” he said.

The Department of Finance has been contacted.

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