Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Martin HeydonMartin Heydon (Kildare South, Fine Gael)
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645. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the supports available for businesses that need to make structural changes to their business premises to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6866/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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A major part of my Department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to expand the range of financial supports to ensure businesses have sufficient liquidity to see them through the crisis and to prepare for the announced reopening phases.  My Department and I continue to monitor the needs of companies as the situation evolves and provide new supports where required and appropriate to do so.

Included in the now €7.5 billion of liquidity supports which I announced over the past few weeks, is a Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprises which is being administered by Enterprise Ireland. This fund for smaller businesses provides €25,000 and €50,000 in repayable advances, depending on size and turnover of company. This fund will provide liquidity to enable these enterprises to steer a pathway towards recovery and to introduce measures in response to the controls and health and safety requirements in line with changing work patterns and protocols and guidelines being introduced as we begin the re-opening of the economy.

On 15 May last, the Government also agreed the arrangements for the new €250m “Restart Grant” for micro enterprises and small businesses.  The "Restart Grant"  is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers. It will be a critically important tool to support small businesses to reopen their doors and get back on their feet. This grant will enable small and micro business reconnect with their employees and customer base by helping to defray ongoing fixed costs and the costs, such as PPE, associated with re-launching the business.

The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.  Applications for the "Restart Grant" can be made online to all local authorities from Friday 22 May.

In addition to the extensive package of liquidity measures announced, the full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant and advisory supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness. 

I can assure the Deputy that I continue to work with my colleagues across Government and all stakeholders to examine further appropriate supports to assist businesses impacted by Covid-19.  In that regard, Government will continue to explore funding potential for all enterprises as they work through the challenges facing them, including through any mechanisms allowable under the EU’s state aid framework.

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