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Mallon seeks further powers to open another financial assistance scheme for private bus and coach operators

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Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is seeking further powers to open another financial assistance scheme for private bus and coach operators.

The Minister has written to the First and deputy First Minsters seeking a further Determination & Designation under the Financial Assistance (Northern Ireland) Act 2009, to facilitate the development of a second financial assistance scheme for private bus and coach operators.

Minister Mallon said: “With the pandemic continuing to have a very real impact on lives and livelihoods and this not likely to change soon, private bus and coach operators like many others, are dealing with an extremely difficult situation. I am pleased to have already delivered support to many operators in the sector through my first support fund which opened before Christmas. My Department continues to work in partnership with the sector during this challenging time.

“It is clear that the ongoing restrictions have had a direct and significant impact on the capacity of the bus and coach industry to trade. The evidence presented to my Department has confirmed the ongoing impact on the sector since September, and given that there is no evidence that the industry has recovered, there is a need for the development of a further bespoke financial support scheme to take account of their monthly standstill overheads for the period between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021.

“This is why I have written to the First and deputy First Minister seeking a further Determination & Designation under the Financial Assistance (Northern Ireland) Act 2009, to facilitate the development of a second financial assistance scheme for private bus and coach operators. I also intend to take a paper to the Executive seeking their approval for the scheme in the coming days. I will be engaging with the sector on the scheme and would intend it to launch in early March, subject to all the necessary approvals and regulations being in place.”

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