Flood funding relief is running late says Patrick Brown MLA
Following the floods in late October and early November last year in South Down, notably in Downpatrick and Newry, business owners are still waiting for vital flood relief funds to be released.
Patrick Brown South Down Alliance MLA said: “It is disappointing that applications for the next round of flood relief funding has not yet gone live.
“These grants of up to £100k will be a vital lifeline for businesses in the Newry and Downpatrick areas who now face a bleak New Year.
“I fear many will struggle to remain commercially viable.
“This cash injection is needed now, and I urge the department to move more quickly to launch the application process and provide certainty and hope to flooded businesses.
“I understand the current delays are due in part to complications over the criteria of the grant.
“Therefore I can only hope this means the Department has reversed their previous flawed decision to exclude certain applicants, such as those with inadequate insurance cover or non-trading charities.
“I also hope they have developed a process for allowing businesses to claim for stock losses.
“If these changes are made, I believe the council must also retrospectively re-open the £7.5k grants for those previously excluded.
“If these changes have not been made I will be making direct representations to the Department to ask them to change their criteria for qualifying for a flood relief grant.”