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Support for sole traders and newly self-employed crucial – Molloy

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BT Coleraine

Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy has called on the Economy Minister to immediately extend the Hardship Fund to sole traders and the newly self employed who have been not been able to access COVID-19 support funding.

The Mid-Ulster MP said:

“I have been contacted by dozens of small and micro business owners within Mid-Ulster and across the North who have been excluded from COVID19 financial support to date.

“Those excluded from the eligibility criteria for grants include barbers, hairdressers, photographers, sole traders and many other service providers and tradespeople.

“The eligibility criteria has also excluded those that are newly self-employed.

“These entrepreneurs, businesses and newly self-employed workers have been unable to trade during COVID19 due to restrictions, but have yet to receive any financial support from the Economy Minister.

“The lack of support for this sector of business is now putting the very survival of these businesses and jobs are now at risk, as well as being detrimental for the income for many working families.

“Small enterprises and entrepreneurs are the backbone to the North’s economy and there is an onus on the Economy Minister to proactively support these businesses during this time of great economic uncertainty.

“Sinn Féin has continuously lobbied the Economy Minister to ensure that that the eligibility criteria for support is made inclusive.

“Minister Dodds must address this urgently and as a priority.”

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