Thursday, 15 October 2020
Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
82. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment the extent to which his Department expects to combat the negative aspects of Covid-19 in the year ahead with particular reference to maintaining the highest possible levels of activity in the areas of trade, enterprise and employment; the extent to which he expects to achieve success in respect of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30874/20]
The pandemic has caused untold damage to people's lives and livelihoods. I know that many businesses have been severely impacted by the restrictions needed to ensure public health safety during the pandemic. Our response to COVID-19 will continue to support those businesses affected.
Budget 2021 provides a significant package of tax and expenditure measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors.
The Budget measures are in addition to those announced in the July Stimulus, which was a substantial financial package to stimulate our economy worth more than €5 billion, with an additional €2 billion in loan guarantees for the new Credit Guarantee Scheme. It was bigger in scale than most budgets and is being deployed at speed. The new measures in the Budget are in addition to those already announced for this year, including the Temporary Wage Subsidy, the Restart Grant and Restart Grant Plus, cash for businesses, low cost loans and commercial rates waivers.
As of 9th October, the Restart Grant has had 45,505 businesses apply for grants, with €155.2m approved. The Restart Grant Plus has had 54,938 applicants and €273.4m approved.
As part of Budget 2021, the Exchequer allocation for my Department will increase by €254m. I am allocating an additional €136m to address ongoing COVID-19 challenges, including €50 million to Enterprise Ireland.
I want the impact of this pandemic to be a lost year and not a lost decade. So, we will continue to focus on what we can do to grow businesses and grow opportunities for Irish business. To grow resilience and productivity in businesses.
Our focus in allocating our funding is to ensure that businesses who need help with challenges arising from Brexit and COVID-19 get it and get it when they need it.