Northern Ireland economy minister Diane Dodds has unveiled details of a new £26.1 million support scheme for larger hospitality and tourism businesses that have been impacted by health protection regulations to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Large Tourism and Hospitality Business Support Scheme (LTHBSS) will provide support to large businesses in these sectors that have been significantly impacted by the health protection regulations put in place by the Executive. The scheme will provide additional financial support to help these businesses meet fixed costs and overheads associated with the survival of their businesses and the protection of jobs.
Dodds stated, "Large businesses within the tourism and hospitality sectors have endured considerable fixed cost outlays throughout the pandemic. Furthermore, they have not been able to avail of funding from either the Small Business Support Grant Scheme or the Business Support Grant Scheme for the Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Sectors which was made available to smaller firms to assist with unavoidable fixed costs.
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"Therefore, this scheme will provide support to large businesses within some of our most important sectors to help them meet the fixed costs and overheads that they need to keep their business going and to protect jobs."
Criteria And Details
The LTHBSS will be open to businesses that have a total net annual value (NAV) of £51,001 and above that meet the following criteria:
- the business is named within the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 and the business is eligible for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS);
- the business is operating in Northern Ireland and was trading immediately prior to October 16, 2020;
- the grant payment paid to businesses should not exceed the maximum levels of state aid permitted under the COVID-19 Temporary State Aid Framework;
- and businesses which have failed to comply with a prohibition notice under regulation 7 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020(b) would not be eligible for support under the scheme.
The department has identified over 250 eligible businesses in Northern Ireland with a total NAV of £51,001 or more. It will follow a tiered payment support structure ensuring that businesses with higher NAVs receive a higher payment reflecting higher fixed costs, The scheme will make a one-off payment based on weekly amounts of between £2,400 and £41,900, depending on an individual business's NAV.
Eligible businesses will receive a single grant payment based on the relevant weekly amounts - eight weeks of support for the period of restrictions to December 11, 2020 (10 weeks in the case of businesses located in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area), plus six weeks of support for the period of restrictions from December 26, 2020, to February 6, 2021.
For example, businesses where the NAV is £51,001 to £60,000 will receive £2,400 per week. This will increase to £2,900 per week for businesses where the NAV is £60,001 to £70,000 and £3,400 per week for businesses where the NAV is £70,001 to £80,000. This pattern continues up to a NAV of £600,000.
From £600,001 onwards, the NAV bands are widened to £100,000 with increments of £2,500. For example, £31,900 per week for a business with a NAV of £600,001 to £700,000 and £34,400 per week for a business with a NAV of between £700,001 and £800,000. Finally, businesses where the NAV is £1,000,001 or greater will receive a maximum of £41,900 per week.
The department will contact eligible businesses to provide an application form with a unique application number. Once the application form has been fully completed and returned with the required supporting evidence, it will be assessed and a grant payment will be issued in March.
Scheme To Support Bed And Breakfasts, Guesthouses And Guest Accommodation Businesses
The unveiling of the details of the LTHBSS coincided with the launch of a £4.1 million scheme to support bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and guest accommodation businesses that have experienced a reduction in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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