Thursday, 18 February 2021
Covid-19 (Enterprise, Trade and Employment): Statements
I thank the Deputies. I recognise Deputy Farrell's ongoing interest in Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport and aviation workers in particular. As I said earlier, we are in discussions with Aer Lingus to see what we can do to make sure the airline survives the pandemic and is there to enable connectivity whenever we can get flying again.
In regard to the hospitality sector, it benefits from both the wage subsidy scheme and the CRSS, which applies when a premises is closed. I know many businesses have moved over to take-out and delivery and have been very innovative in that regard.
When it comes to remote working, including working from home, it is intended that the budget in October will include a tax package to provide a better set of expenses and tax deductibles for people who are engaged in such work. We are also examining means to incentivise businesses to enable people to work from home or work remotely. At the moment, some companies are stuck with both the cost of an office that is empty and the cost of people working at home. We need to help them with the transition.
As Deputy Bruton said, we are entering a period of major change. It is change that was happening anyway but it has been accelerated by the pandemic. It involves remote working and, therefore, investment in broadband. I pay tribute to the Deputy's work as Minister in making sure that contract was signed. The Deputy referred to offshore wind. The transition is going to be green and digital and, in addition, it needs to involve things like lifelong learning and second-chance education.