Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt is calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to establish an appeals mechanism for those individuals and businesses that have missed out on financial support during the health pandemic.
Like all MLAs, constituents are contacting Mike Nesbitt on a daily basis because they have received no grant aid through no fault of their own and have no formal mechanism to appeal their case.
Mike said: “I would like to see a sub-committee of the Executive, with the power to examine the specific circumstances of individual cases and show some flexibility. Yesterday, a business owner contacted me, having lost out on £20,000 because her two outlets did not have Rates ID. But the reason they didn’t have Rates ID was because they were new businesses and Land & Property Services were unable to make a rates assessment in a timely manner because of the coronavirus.
“There is also the question of grants adversely affecting individuals in receipt of benefits such as Universal Credit.
“Ministers from Finance, the Economy and Communities could be empowered to review any decision appealed by members of the public. Given the Executive is now dealing in mitigation programmes worth hundreds of millions of pounds, this would be a relatively inexpensive initiative, but with potentially massively positive outcomes for individuals, businesses and the future of the economy.”