More than 34,000 loans have supported businesses across all sectors, protecting jobs. But the retail and construction sectors have benefitted the most, demonstrating how government support helped those businesses that were impacted hardest by the pandemic, helping to keep people in work.
Similarly, the Self Employment Income Support Scheme has benefitted business people across all sectors, with 56,000 people in Northern Ireland benefitting from SEISS, with an average claim of £2,500.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “We have provided unprecedented support for businesses and workers up and down the country, protecting jobs and livelihoods. Throughout this crisis my priority has always been to protect jobs, and at the Winter Economy Plan, we provided additional help to get businesses through the months ahead.”
The Chancellor also announced on Friday that the government’s Job Support Scheme will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Companies across Northern Ireland have benefitted from support including Suitor Brothers, Belfast.
Chris Suitor, Partner & Co-owner of Suitor Brothers, Belfast said: “Thanks to the financial support from the government, our family business was able to remain solvent throughout the pandemic enabling us to retain all our staff. Accessing the Job Retention Scheme for our three staff and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme left us in a much stronger position to reopen, restart, and concentrate on getting back to business!”
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said: “These figures demonstrate the UK Government’s continuing commitment to protecting Northern Ireland’s economy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Self Employment Income Support Scheme have proven to be essential for many local firms. The measures announced as part of the Winter Economy Plan show our ongoing dedication to supporting local firms and employees.”
As part of the Winter Economy Plan, the Chancellor announced that more than a million businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will now receive further protection from the Covid crisis through flexible repayments, under the new Pay as You Grow system, which gives businesses more time to repay.
The Winter Economy Plan will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the uncertain months ahead as we adopt a new response to the virus, including through extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors.
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