Commenting on the announcement by the Finance Minister of a £300 million support package, Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton said, “Businesses in Belfast and right across the region have been hurting as a result of the Executive lockdown restrictions. Businesses have been seriously struggling to survive, and whilst assistance with wage costs through the furlough scheme and various grants have been hugely helpful, many are worried about how they will weather the storm they are facing.
Belfast Chamber welcomes today’s announcement by the Executive of £300 million of support. We especially welcome the high street voucher scheme which is something that Belfast Chamber has advocated to help businesses in our city during the usually quiet January and February period. This will help stimulate spending where it is needed and when it is needed. We are also grateful for the help for directors who have been hitherto excluded.
Rates are a huge overhead for most businesses so the announcement that manufacturers are to enjoy a rates holiday this year and that some £150 million is being kept aside to offer rates reductions in the next financial year is also hugely welcome.
This is a substantial amount of support and whilst many will still feel that it does not go far enough, Belfast Chamber appreciates what Ministers have agreed and will work with them to ensure additional help gets to where it is needed”.