At least 17,000 jobs are to be cut in Northern Ireland as part of the government’s continued coronavirus employment program.
The program will see the government pay 80% of the wages of staff who are hired by their employers, covering wages up to £ 2,500 per month.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds said the companies had informed Invest NI of their intention to end their stay.
There is no obligation to notify Invest NI, so the total may be higher.
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Dodds said she wants greater clarity from the Treasury over companies eligible for the scheme.
The government’s current view is that it is open to all employers and designed for those whose operations have been severely affected.
However, there is no clear definition of “severely affected”.
This means that some companies fear that they will not be able to lay off their staff and later discover that they are not eligible.
Dodds also said that £ 100 million had been paid out in £ 10,000 grants to small businesses this week.
Speaking at the Northern Ireland executive’s daily briefing, she said details of a £ 25,000 grant scheme for retail businesses and hospitality in tourism would be released on next week.
About 4,000 businesses are expected to benefit.