Derry businesses locked out of support, says MLA

Thu, 11/03/2021 - 03:53 -- Editor

Foyle SDLP MLA Sinead McLaughlin has written to finance minister Conor Murphy to ask that he urgently reviews arrangements for payments to businesses under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme.  

A written reply from health minister Robin Swann to a question by Sinead McLaughlin revealed that close contact businesses in Derry and Strabane were prohibited from trading from the 5th October. However, the finance minister confirmed in a written reply to McLaughlin that regulations for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme only provide for payment to those businesses from the 16th October.  

McLaughlin said: “I have been contacted by local businesses that are under severe financial pressure, made much worse by the application of regulations covering payments under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS). Businesses tell me that those problems have been exacerbated by officials implementing the LRSS who are now unilaterally and without warning recovering money initially made without authority under the regulations.  

“The pandemic has caused a serious crisis for many businesses in Derry and Strabane. It is unacceptable that this has been made worse by the support payments not covering the full period that businesses were prohibited from trading.”