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Newry Chamber Welcome £15m Funding for Flood-Hit Businesses as a ‘Positive Start’

Newry Chamber has described today’s announcement of £15m in funding for flood-hit businesses by Secretary of State for NI, Chris Heaton-Harris MP as “a positive start.”

The announcement came at the end of a meeting in Newry organised by Newry Chamber between Mr. Heaton-Harris, business leaders, representatives of the businesses affected, the Council CEO and local MP, Mickey Brady.

Julie Gibbons, President of Newry Chamber said:

“We had a very engaging meeting with the Secretary of State which lasted two hours and he took the time to understand the scale of the need in this area and the urgency in getting a package out to businesses across the region that have been devastated by the floods.”

“While we welcome his engagement and the £15m he has announced today through the reallocation of existing NI funds this is a positive start, but it is only the beginning.”

“We do not yet know how this scheme will be administered but it will need to be agile and swift and we will keep businesses informed as more details emerge.”

“Council Chief Executive, Marie Ward made a robust evidence-based case for significant additional funding to come from the UK Government and outlined that the current projected need in the area is at least £37 million and it is likely to grow well beyond that as businesses get a clearer assessment of the damage. We will continue to lobby hard over the coming weeks to ensure that additional money is made available from London.”

“The businesses at the meeting made an impassioned plea for significant financial support and the Secretary of State acknowledged the scale of the financial need to help get the economy of this region back on its feet.”

“The businesses in the Greater Newry Area have always been resilient and that resilience will see them through this crisis if support continues to come from Government. It is imperative that the analysis required to prevent this devastation from happening again begins as soon as possible and the necessary infrastructure investment follows.”

“Our message though is loud and clear – Newry is open for business! We encourage everyone to shop local and support the shops and businesses across our city and district.”

Secretary of State for NI, Chris-Heaton Harris MP said:

“The floods have been devastating for all those who have suffered the destruction of their homes and businesses. I have previously seen myself all the hard work that has gone into the areas affected to build facilities, invest and grow businesses and improve the local area.”

“I can only imagine how people must be feeling to see the destruction these floods have brought to areas they’ve invested so much in. Those who have suffered damage need reassurance that support will be available. This is rightly something which a devolved Executive should be able to deliver.”

“However, in the absence of the Executive which could have acted swiftly, the UK Government will make available up to £15m of support through the reallocation of existing NI funding. This will help with clean-up costs and support businesses to resume trading.”

“We will continue to work closely with the NI Civil Service and local councils to ensure that support gets to those who need it as quickly as possible.”