Economy Minister Diane Dodds has commented on the economic measures announced in the UK Budget today.
The Minister said: “The Job Retention Scheme has seen significant take-up in Northern Ireland, with in excess of 100,000 people furloughed. I have been clear that, rather than ending on 31 March, the scheme would be required for some months to come, and I called on the UK Government to extend it. I therefore welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that the scheme will continue until the end of September.
“The tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Ireland has been, and continues to be, acutely impacted by the pandemic. The extension for these businesses of the 5% reduced rate of VAT to the end of September is also a welcome step.”
The Minister continued: “The Treasury’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has helped many self-employed people in Northern Ireland and I welcome the announcement today of details for a fourth and fifth grant.
“The Chancellor has also today committed to making eligible for the UK-wide SEISS those who became self-employed in 2019/20 and have filed a tax return for that year, and this is also to be welcomed.
“I will be keen to see more detail on other UK-wide schemes that were announced, such as measures to support business investment and the Help to Grow initiative to help businesses boost their management and digital skills, to see how local businesses can benefit.”
The Minister concluded: “The launch of the Economic Recovery Action Plan for Northern Ireland last week is a milestone which allows us to look beyond the current climate and plan for recovery, and I look forward to better times ahead for the local economy.”