Dáil debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Small and Medium Enterprises

10:10 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I would like to dispel any concerns that we are not looking at this with a sense of urgency. We are. I fought hard around budget time, as did the Ministers of State, Deputies Calleary and Richmond, to make sure we could get as much money as possible for the ICOB scheme. I do not think any Opposition parties called for a fund to help compensate businesses for increased pressures in costs. We put a fund of €250 million in place and increased it by €7 million in order to increase thresholds, etc., to get 143,000 businesses in. It is a big priority for me and the Government to help businesses with cashflow. The Minister, Deputy Michael McGrath, also responded with some urgency in the last number of weeks with Revenue. We are not finished yet. We have done considerable work that has taken months to put together to look at the combined impact on different sectors in the economy of the increased costs they face. We are looking at putting an options paper together for how we might respond. This is being taken very seriously by the Government, but I do not want to raise expectations that we can introduce a mini-budget that would allow us to make a swathe of changes easily. That is not realistic. There are targeted things we can do. The real challenge is how to confine supports to the sectors under pressure in order that there is no moral hazard impact of spending tens of millions of euro in sectors that are not under pressure. That is not easy to do with either the tax system or a grant aid scheme. I assure the Deputy that we are looking at this issue and taking it seriously.


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