Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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420. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the supports available and the steps a business owner (details supplied) can take in respect of a matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10808/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Application forms for the new €250m Restart Grant providing direct grant aid to micro and small businesses are now available online on all local authority websites. The grant is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational.

To qualify for the Restart Grant, a business must be in a rateable premises and:

- have a turnover of less than €5m and have 50 or less employees,

- have suffered a projected 25%+ loss in revenue from 1 April 2020 to 30th June 2020,

- commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed. The business must also declare the intention to retain employees that are benefitting from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Subject to the qualifying criteria outlined above, any business that has a commercially rateable premises including those businesses with outstanding rates bills are eligible to make an application if they meet the criteria. The grant will be the amount of the rates demand in respect of calendar year 2019 only, subject to a minimum of €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000.

A recently established company that has moved into a rateable premises, or any company that is currently in a rateable premises but was not rate-assessed in 2019, is still eligible to apply. The local authority can pay the grant based on an estimate of what the rates demand for 2019 would have been.

Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online directly to local authorities and further information is available on the application form. If there are queries that are not addressed on the application form, businesses can contact the Business Support Unit in each local authority.

The Restart Grant is just one  of a €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, the pandemic unemployment payment for the self-employed, grants, Trading Online Vouchers, low-cost loans from MFI, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs.

Full details on all COVID19 supports for business are available at: .

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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421. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if a business (details supplied) will receive assistance. [10816/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Government has introduced a €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, the pandemic unemployment payment for the self-employed, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs.

Full details on all COVID19 supports for business are available at: .

In addition to the package of Covid 19 specific liquidity measures, the full range of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) 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.

Microfinance Ireland (MFI) is administering special COVID-19 Loans. The interest rates on these loans have been reduced from 7.8% to 4.5% if applied for through the local enterprise office. Loans are between €5,000 and €50,000 with no repayments or interest due in the first six months.

Furthermore, by moving their Mentoring and training programmes online, in the form of free webinars available through the LEO’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel, the 31 LEOs have continued to provide the Micro-enterprise sector with a full range of advice and support offerings and continue to process  applications for grant schemes such as the Feasibility Study Grants, Priming Grants, Business Expansion Grants and the LEAN for Micro Programme.

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

Claire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein)
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422. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the supports available to the self-employed restarting work post Covid-19; the supports for sole traders that do not pay rates to a local authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10822/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Restart Grant support is just one part of the wider €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, the pandemic unemployment payment for the self-employed, grants from the Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland, low-cost loans from MicroFinance Ireland and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs.

I understand the concerns relating to the Restart Grant from businesses that do not operate from commercial premises. However, tradespersons and service providers that operate on a mobile basis or that could continue to work remotely have been better placed to continue to trade and many don’t have the same levels of losses, of ongoing overheads or reopening costs that a fixed premises business will have. Within the funding available, the priority has been to support those who have suffered most, including closure of the business, but who will still have incurred ongoing costs.

The unprecedented circumstances of the COVID19 global pandemic has resulted in a swiftly evolving landscape for enterprises. The Government will continue to use all available tools at its disposal to support businesses and ensure their survival. In that context, I will keep the supports provided under review and continue to support enterprises as they work through the challenges facing them.

Full details on all COVID19 supports for business are available at: .

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