Following a review of the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme grant, the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland has contacted 480 businesses requesting them to repay the money they have received. This will of course come as a big blow to these businesses unless they can procure funding from another source or appeal against the decision.
DoF Has Written To 480 Businesses Requesting Repayment
Here is what the BBC News has reported on this situation on their website:
`The Department of Finance has written to 480 businesses requesting the repayment of money issued under a Covid-19 grant scheme, BBC News NI has learned.
`Following a review, officials are seeking to recover £4.38m.
`A spokesperson said businesses could appeal the decision or apply for funding from different schemes.
`The Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS) was established in October.
`It is linked to the restrictions placed on businesses and has paid out £260m to more than 13,000 businesses.
The department said all applications were continuously reviewed to ensure the scheme was working within the regulations.
`Payments are linked to the rating system which BBC News NI understands has made its administration complex, especially as restrictions changed.
Incorrect Payments Occurred For Number Of Reasons
`Incorrect payments occurred for a number of reasons, including:
- The business was permitted to operate during the restrictions period.
- It has ceased trading since the application was made or wasn’t open and trading at the start of the restriction period.
- It is not operating from commercial premises.
`Businesses can appeal the decision and provide further evidence which may result in payments continuing to some businesses, reducing the overall amount of overpayments.
`It is understood officials believe a number of the 480 affected firms will be eligible for a grant scheme established by the department in March.
`If a business cannot repay the amount, Land and Property Services has said it will enter into a payment arrangement.
While payment arrangements are all well and good it is not an ideal situation for any business to have extra payments to find during this very stressful period for the vast majority of them. Why more checks were not made before these payments were made is mystifying really and just adds to the uncertainty and worries of the economic situation.
At WHR Accountants we have helped many businesses over the years secure extra funding for their business, so if you feel you need any help in this area please don`t hesitate to give us a call on 028 3752 2909 and we will do our utmost to help you.