Hospitality Ulster welcomes £40m support package

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Welcome news: hospitality businesses will receive more financial help than those in England (credit: Getty/Andrew Brookes)
Welcome news: hospitality businesses will receive more financial help than those in England (credit: Getty/Andrew Brookes)

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Hospitality Ulster has welcomed a financial package to help sector sites in the run-up to Christmas, which is greater than what has been offered in England.

While hospitality sites in England can access grant funding up to £6,000, the allowances for more than 3,200 businesses including pubs, bars, nightclubs and restaurants in Northern Ireland are noticeably higher at:

  • £10,000 for premises with an NAV (non-domestic net annual value) up to £15,000
  • £15,000 for premises with an NAV between £15,001 and £51,000
  • £20,000 for premises with an NAV over £51,000

We were listened to

The trade body’s chief executive Colin Neill said of the £40m war chest issued by the Northern Ireland Executive: “This is a very welcome move to bring forward financial compensation funding to this side of Christmas. We appreciate that we were listened to.

“There was a sense of shock across the entire industry when further restrictions were announced without mention of any support. 

“We appreciate the amount is more than was given in England and are glad and relieved that this assistance has been accelerated. It is now vital that the money gets to those in the sector who need it as swiftly as possible and that the anxiety created can be reduced. This support will mean business owners and staff can breathe a small sigh of relief and go into the holiday period with at least some sort of short-term security.”

Critical juncture

He continued: “Not everyone will get what they need, but this is a start at such a critical juncture. We are now in the process of having further discussion on how nightclubs (which will be forced to close from Boxing Day) can be supported properly and how to ensure that as we move forward they are compensated for their forced closure.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We have been listening to industry and recognise the losses the sector is experiencing. We hope this package, which will pay much greater amounts than the English scheme, will help them through these difficult circumstances.

“We will do all we can to support the hospitality industry as we fight this pandemic together. It is also essential that the Westminster Government reintroduces the furlough scheme for workers as a matter of urgency.”

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