Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announces £19m support fund for coach, bus and taxi operators

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Northern Ireland has agreed a package of funding to assist the coach and bus sectors with overheads and loss of income during the pandemic

Northern Irish Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced the details of a support fund which recognises the exceptional circumstances that businesses in the sector have faced from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and which will assist with unavoidable overheads and loss of income during this time.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon

Speaking after the Executive meeting where the support fund was agreed, Minister Mallon said: “Covid-19 has presented many challenges and worries and has been an unprecedented time for everybody not least those in the taxi, private bus and coach industry.

“With the introduction of restrictions from the beginning of the pandemic, affecting schools, hospitality, tourism, sport and many other areas of normal life, these businesses have been severely impacted and many face an uncertain future.

“Over the last few months I have met representatives from these businesses and heard at first-hand how their lives and livelihoods have been affected. I am therefore very pleased today to announce that a £19m Support Fund will open in the next few weeks.”

The proposed scheme for private bus and coach operators is expected to open in mid-November and is on financial standing requirements. Subject to securing the necessary approvals, this will provide an amount to each operator of £8,000 for the first vehicle and £4,450 for each additional vehicle. The funding will provide a contribution to their overhead costs, subject to operators being able to prove their loss of income and the need for the financial support. Payments to eligible operators will be capped at £100k.

The Minister continued: “I hope that this funding along with the £300,000 provided earlier in the year to waive fees for the renewal of bus vehicle licences will compensate for some of those losses incurred in recent months as a result of the pandemic and will enable these operators to remain in business and be ready for the post-Covid recovery period.”