Wednesday, 16 December 2020
Department of Finance
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
93. To ask the Minister for Finance if businesses in the activity sector are included in the Covid restrictions support scheme; if not, the reason; his plans to extend the scheme to include businesses in the activity sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43737/20]
94. To ask the Minister for Finance if concerns raised in correspondence by a company (details supplied) in respect of access to the Covid-19 restrictions support scheme for outdoor activity companies will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43746/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 93, 94, 96 and 97 together.
The CRSS is a targeted support for businesses significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health Regulations to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It applies to businesses who, under the specific terms of the regulations, are required to prohibit or significantly restrict members of the public from accessing their business premises, with the result that the business is required to temporarily close or to operate at significantly reduced levels.
Details of CRSS were published in the Finance Bill 2020 and detailed operational guidelines on the scheme have been published on the Revenue website at: .
The design and operation of CRSS is centred around the concept of the “business premises” to which access is restricted under the Covid-related public health Regulations. The Regulations apply on a geographical basis and the premises must be located in the relevant geographical area.
For the purposes of CRSS a business premises is defined in the legislation as being “a building or other similar fixed physical structure from which a business activity is ordinarily carried on”.
The legislation further requires that “applicable business restrictions provisions prohibit, or significantly restrict, members of the public from having access to the business premises in which the relevant business activity of the person is carried on”.
Travel restrictions or social distancing measures are not the level of restrictions to which the CRSS refers. It is also not sufficient that a business is experiencing a reduction in demand for its goods or services because of Covid-19. To be eligible to make a claim under CRSS, a business must, under the specific terms of the regulations, be required to either prohibit, or significantly restrict, customers from accessing its business premises.
The Deputies will appreciate that outdoor activity businesses, by their very nature, generally do not provide services in premises to which access is restricted. Therefore, they are not eligible for the CRSS and I have no plans to change this.
The CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions. Businesses who do not qualify under this scheme may be entitled to support under various measures put in place by Government, including existing supports available under the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the range of measures announced as part of Budget 2021 to support particular sectors including Tourism and live entertainment. They may also be eligible to warehouse VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts and also excess payments received by employers under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the balance of Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020 for self-assessed taxpayers if applicable.
The purpose of the CRSS is to provide additional support to the businesses who have had to close temporarily or significantly restrict access to their premises as a direct result of public health Regulations. The Government will continue to assess the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and I will continue to work with Ministerial colleagues to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to mitigate these effects.