Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister for the Economy, given the current restrictions on opening of businesses and premises, for her assessment of the practice of allowing three working days to collect additional supporting evidence and lodge an appeal against a decision on eligibility to the Coronavirus Restrictions Business Support Scheme.
Minister for the Economy: When CRBSS was launched, information on the appeals process was published, including details on how it would operate across the two elements of the scheme – Part A and Part B. To date, Invest NI, which is operating the scheme on behalf of my Department, has not received any negative feedback on the time-periods that apply to administering the appeals process.
The appeals process is the final step in what is often an extended assessment process. Applicants will have been given a number of opportunities to provide outstanding information, essentially exhausting all potential avenues before an application might reach the appeal stage. In many cases, Invest NI will have corresponded with applicants 10-12 times across the process to help them identify and provide all the information required to base a final decision. This ensures applicants have the best opportunity to evidence their eligibility for the scheme.