There needs to be a greater sense of urgency from the Department of Finance when dealing with the various support schemes on offer for businesses who have been  forced to close according to local MLA Justin McNulty.

Mr McNulty explained "Businesses are crying out for the much promised support.  Some have received some monies whilst others have received nothing.  What is adding to the difficulty is the lack of communication between the department and applicants and too many people, businesses and families are on their hand and knees and are literally crying out for support.

Businesses need support now, not months down the line. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Businesses need support now, not months down the line. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

"I have been assisting many businesses though my offices in Newry and Armagh. So many businesses and families are really struggling.  Many have gone ten weeks now without payment and face further delays before they get any payments."

The Newry and Armagh representative has welcomed confirmation that those who have applied and received payments do not need to reapply to the various schemes but points out that even those who have received payments are now crying out for information as to when they will receive their next payments as they have bills to pay.

McNulty added "I believe there will need to be more support available for businesses when the restrictions do lift.  We have seen that our streets won’t automatically get business back to normal again as there will be a latent anxiety.

"The Department of Finance need to inject a sense of urgency into this process.  They need to deal with the backlog of cases in the system but they also need to deal with the payments linked to the current closures with a greater sense of urgency. Too many people, businesses and families are crying out for payment!"

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