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Assembly Written Question 14766/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy, considering that COVID-19 restrictions may be in place for the nightlife sector for longer than many other parts of the economy, what plans she has for specific support for the sector, and those that work in it.

Answer: The Executive and the UK Government have introduced a wide range of business support schemes to help ease the extraordinary burden that has been placed on entire communities and our local economy, due to the ongoing global pandemic. These schemes and other financial packages have supported businesses, individual and employers across every sector and industry.

Many of those in the nightlife sector will have been eligible for support under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme which is administered by the Department of Finance. Eligibility for this scheme is directly linked to the Health Protection Regulations.

Those that work in the sector will have been eligible for support under UK Government schemes such as the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Decisions about the extension of these schemes to cover sectors subject to longer restrictions will be made by the UK Government. I, along with Executive colleagues, have asked the Chancellor to make this support available for as long as possible to allow businesses time to recover.

Whilst the Executive and my own Department continue to receive calls for specific targeted support, it is not possible to design and fund schemes for every sector of business or employment group across our society. Ultimately however, it will be for the Executive collectively to determine how any new or additional Covid related funding should be allocated.

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