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Dickson calls for support for the leisure and entertainment sector

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has called for the Economy Minister to widen the Large Tourism and Hospitality Business Support Scheme, to include leisure and entertainment businesses over £51,001 NAV.

The Alliance Economy spokesperson said: “For almost a year now, leisure and tourism businesses have been unable to trade normally, or even been required to close completely due to the pandemic. Furthermore, many of these businesses operate out of large premises which have a higher rating value, excluding them from most of the support grants made available to businesses.

“It was therefore disappointing, in a response to a question posed by my Alliance colleague, Andrew Muir MLA, the Minister seemed to indicate she had no plans to extend specific support to the sector. This was despite support being made available to large tourism and hospitality businesses with a NAV of £51,001 or more.

“I have therefore written to the Minister to call on her to take urgent action to include these businesses in the Large Tourism and Hospitality Scheme. I have also asked she meet with representatives of the leisure and entertainment sector to ensure she understands the level of need, and the challenges facing businesses.

“It may be some time before large leisure and entertainment can fully reopen, so it is vital support comes forward from the Department soon.”