Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Enterprise Support Services Provision
457. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the way in which a person whose business has been affected by flooding applies for aid schemes; and if the scheme available to business owners is also available to agri-business owners. [3535/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 457 and 458 together.
On Thursday 27thFebruary 2020, I announced the opening of a Scheme to provide an emergency humanitarian contribution to small businesses (including agri-businesses which comply with the qualifying criteria), community, voluntary and sporting bodies for damage caused by flooding arising from severe weather conditions during the week commencing 23rd February 2020 and subsequent weeks.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding with my Department, the Irish Red Cross administers the Scheme on behalf of my Department.
The scheme provides for a humanitarian support contribution towards the costs of returning small businesses (as defined up to 20 employees), sporting, voluntary and community premises to their pre-flood condition. This will include the replacement of flooring, fixtures and fittings and damaged stock where relevant. In the first instance, only those small businesses and bodies which could not secure flood damage insurance are eligible. Furthermore, the scheme will not provide a contribution to loss of earnings or loss of business goodwill.
The scheme contains two stages as follows:
1.The first stage will commence immediately and will provide a contribution of up to €5,000, depending on the scale of damage incurred. It is anticipated that this will meet the needs for the majority of those affected. The intention is to process payments as fast as possible.
2.In the event that the premises have incurred significant damages above €5,000, the second stage will provide a means to seek further support. However, this will be a lengthier process requiring a detailed assessment by the Irish Red Cross. The total level of support available for both stages combined will be capped at €20,000.
Further information on the Scheme including eligibility criteria and application forms for support are available on the Irish Red Cross website by accessing the following link:
459. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the advisory support available from her Department and State agencies under her remit with respect to contingency planning for business interruptions from Covid-19. [3676/20]
My Department is working on various supports and providing inputs on a range of contingencies and guidance in the event of business interruptions from COVID-19, including:
- dealing with possible business impacts, including on supply chains. My Department and the development agencies, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices are actively assessing and working with impacted firms, both in overseas markets and in manufacturing businesses here;
- updating advice to business on Continuity Planning which includes a practical checklist as well as links to relevant COVID-19 advice and this was published on my Department’s website and also promoted by business representative bodies to their members and will help companies to assess risk and consider preparatory actions to respond to the virus;
- engaging with business representative bodies, including the retail and grocery sector;
- supports for companies impacted particularly as regards access to short term working capital, including promoting the SBCI Working Capital scheme in place for Brexit, the Credit Guarantee Scheme and MicroFinance Ireland as immediate measures;
- supports that might be needed for firms and workers experiencing trading difficulties.
My Department is also engaged with the Department of Employment and Social Protection to ensure that our joint-Intreo and Development Agency First Responder approach in each region is ready to work with impacted firms, with the objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.
With regards to advice to employers and employees, the Workplace Relations Commission has published a Covid-19: Guidance notice for employers and employees on its website.