Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Government has supported businesses and employees throughout Northern Ireland. I have regular discussions with HM Treasury on economic support, and am grateful for the generous support that has been given so far.
Northern Ireland has benefited from the UK Government’s employment support package, with around one in four jobs in Northern Ireland protected by this, as well as loans and support of over £1.3billion to more than 34,000 firms across Northern Ireland. A UK-wide VAT cut and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme have ensured that the world renowned hospitality industry of Northern Ireland can support its 65,000 workers.
In the current financial year, the UK Government also provided the Executive with £2.8 billion to respond to Covid-19. The Executive has used some of this to support businesses in Northern Ireland. In the recent Spending Review, the Chancellor announced an additional £0.5 billion of further funding for the Executive for Covid-19 in 2021/22.