Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister for the Economy (i) whether the Covid-19 Productive Investment Capital Grant has been closed prematurely due to a shortage of funds; and (ii) what bid for additional funds have been made in order that the grant may be reopened. [Priority Written]
Minister for the Economy: The COVID-19 Productive Investment Capital Grant (PICG) is one of a number of initiatives brought forward by Invest NI in response to COVID-19.
The PICG scheme has experienced a very high level of interest from businesses since launching on 1 February 2021. The number of applications submitted to Invest NI so far indicates that the scheme will be oversubscribed, resulting in the full commitment of its allocated budget.
As clearly stated in the scheme guidance, projects will be supported on a first-come first-served basis and the scheme was expected to close to applications, either when the available budget is fully allocated; or on the closing date of 5pm Thursday 25 February 2021 whichever came first.
Given the popularity of the scheme Invest NI has paused progress on applications not completed before 4.00pm on Thursday 18 February 2021 until further notice.
The PICG scheme is delivered by Invest NI through its 2020/21 budget allocation. The agency hopes to support further applications received under this current call once it has received its budget allocation for 2021/22. Should additional approvals and budget also be secured for the scheme in due course, consideration will be given to accepting further applications.