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Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart said there appears to be a complete lack of urgency within the Department of Finance on the payment of Localised Restriction Grants.

The MP has been raising the issue over recent weeks, but fears the dozens of businesses within her constituency who have not received any payment are only the tip of the iceberg.

She said, "It is nearly a month now since I first raised concerns around the speed of payments from the Localised Restriction Grant scheme. At that time I had already been contacted by many local businesses in urgent need of this support to maintain jobs.

Since then there appears to have been a complete lack of urgency on the part of the Department of Finance to ensure these payments are made. Those in dire need will not appreciate the Finance Minister's rush to the airwaves rubbishing an extra £900million of UK government support when the survival of their businesses may depend on much smaller amounts from that Department.

My fear is that the dozens of businesses that I am aware are only the tip of the iceberg, even within my own Constituency, never mind across all of Northern Ireland.

There have been problems with delays and inaccurate statements on eligibility. Businesses will understand that such grant schemes are complex and there will always be difficulties. However, after waiting for six weeks the very least they deserve is a clear answer from the Finance Minister as to when they can expect these vital payments to be processed."