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Poots opens £1.6million Ornamental Horticulture support scheme


The ornamental horticulture element of DAERA’s Covid-19 support scheme opens today and Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots is encouraging those eligible to get their application forms in.


This is the final strand of the £21.4million Covid-19 Support Scheme announced earlier this year and is worth £1.6m from the overall fund.


Speaking about the scheme opening, Minister Poots said: “In the last few weeks I am proud to have seen approximately £18m paid into the bank accounts of dairy, beef and sheep farmers to help mitigate their losses since the pandemic began in March.


“I’m happy today to announce that the Ornamental Horticulture Industry Coronavirus Support scheme is now open for applications. Our horticulture sector may be small but is an important sector contributing more than £25million each year to the local economy.


“The £1.6m I’ve made available to this sector from the £25m Covid-19 support package will be a financial lifeline following the loss of sales when routes to market were closed earlier this year during this sector’s busiest selling period.” 


Applications for support to those eligible in the ornamental horticulture industry will open on Thursday 15 October and close on Sunday 15 November 2020 and a link to the online application form can be found on the DAERA website at:


https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/daera-safdd/ornamental-horticulture-covid19-scheme-application/


The Minister concluded: “Through this financial package, eligible business will be able to offset some of the losses incurred as a result of the impact on trading caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.


“I have retained a budget of just over £7 million based on the residual funding of £3.6 million (from the £25m support package) and the £3.6 million that was reprioritised from within my Department. This will allow me to address additional issues and challenges Covid-19 that may present in the weeks ahead.”


Further information on the scheme including guidance on the eligibility criteria, advice on how to make the application and the supporting evidence required is also available at:


https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/covid-19-schemes-agriculture-and-horticulture-sectors


The Ornamental Horticulture Industry (Coronavirus, Financial Assistance) Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2020 is now open and eligible businesses will be provided with guidance on how to make their application and the supporting evidence they are required to submit.


The Covid-19 Support Scheme is a contribution towards the losses incurred by businesses as a result of short term market disturbance. Since other HMG support measures are available to agricultural and horticultural businesses, rates of compensation for losses incurred have been set at 100% or 80%. The 80% rate is compatible with that set for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme and the amount of wages paid to furloughed workers through the Coronavirus Job retention Scheme.


Eligible Ornamental horticulture producers are to receive support for 80% of losses incurred in the period March 1 to June 30 reflecting actual loss in accrued sales of eligible plants compared to averaged sales in previous three years.

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