The Northern Ireland Sports Forum welcomes the inclusion of leisure and sports facilities in a new relief scheme for those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis which was announced by Finance Minister Conor Murphy earlier today. The new relief scheme will see the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic pay no rates for the full financial year up until 31 March 2021.
In the Assembly chamber Minister Murphy stated “All pubs, hotels, eating out venues, guest houses, camp sites, sports facilities, cinemas and entertainment venues will pay no rates this financial year”.
Chairperson of the NI Sports Forum Richard Johnson welcomed the inclusion of sport in this support package.
“On the 27th April we wrote to Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Economy Minister Dianne Dodds to outline the impact that Covid-19 is having on the sporting sector. As part of this letter which was also signed by the Irish FA, Ulster Rugby and Ulster GAA we urged the Finance Minister to include the sports sector in any extended rates relief programme due to the ongoing challenges sports organisations are facing. We are delighted that the concerns of NI Sports Forum members have been recognised and thank the Finance Minister for including sports organisations in the relief programme.
The positive role that sports organisations are playing in their local communities at present cannot be underestimated however difficult challenges will still remain in the months ahead”.
In a later statement Minister Murphy said: “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economy. The initial rates support package helped businesses with immediate cash-flow difficulties during the lockdown.
“As the Executive begins to ease the restrictions which have been necessary to save lives, I am pleased to announce this new scheme which importantly provides all businesses with an extended rates holiday for July.
“Further support is then targeted at the sectors which will be in greatest need in the months ahead. This includes retail, hospitality, tourism, leisure, childcare and airports.
“This rates package, which is aligned with the Executive’s pathway to recovery, brings the total support for businesses from rates relief and grants to almost £700m.”