Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has outlined the first steps in distributing the £15 funding package aimed at flood affected businesses and aiding with clean-up costs.
Following a meeting in Newry yesterday organised by the Chamber between the Secretary of State for NI, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, local businesses impacted by the flooding and other local stakeholders, he announced a £15m funding package.
Whilst we welcome the announcement as a positive start, it is only a start and we will continue to lobby hard as we have done over the past week to ensure that additional new money is made available by the Treasury in London to fully address the scale of the damage caused.
As we continue to work through the finite details of the announcement, this what we clearly know at this stage:
- The funding package is aimed at directly dealing with the economic impact on businesses and does not include any investment in infrastructure.
- Each business impacted will each receive £7,500 to support the clean-up process and the Council will start issuing cheques on Monday 13th November.
- Businesses affected will also receive 100% business rates relief for the period between 1st November 2023 and 31st March 2024.
- If you have already paid your business rates for November 2023, a refund will be issued to you.
- In addition, any business that relocates to temporary premises while their flooded property is being repaired will be eligible for 100% business rates relief on the new premises for 3 months.
In relation to how the remaining funds committed as part of the package will be allocated, we will work together with other local stakeholders in the area to bring a business case before the Treasury on how and where it would be best spent.
Businesses suffering indirect loss will be also able to apply to the Rates Hardship Fund, details on information sessions with LPS in relation to this scheme will be announced in due course.
Julie Gibbons, President of Newry Chamber commented:
“It is now clear that a substantial element of the £15 million announced by the Secretary of State on Wednesday will be going to businesses to support the wider economic recovery and impacted businesses will be able to avail of that funding following contact from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council in the coming days.”
“This is a welcome first step but is only the beginning and we will continue to lobby the UK Government for further financial support to ensure that our businesses get the level of financial help they really need.”