Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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110. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of businesses in County Kilkenny that have received support under the restart grant and the restart grant plus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43797/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Restart Grant and Restart Grant Plus schemes were designed to help small and medium sized businesses get back on their feet after what has been an exceptionally difficult time. The Restart Grant scheme was launched on 15 May with a budget of €250 million. The Restart Grant Plus scheme was launched on 10 August with an additional budget of €300m from the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus as a result of the increasing demand for the scheme.

The purpose of the schemes was to help with the cost of reopening or adapting business premises so that normal business could resume. Grant payments were administered by the Local Authorities via the commercial rates system as this was considered the most effective means to get urgent financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The Restart Grant Plus scheme closed to new applications on 31 October and the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) operated by the Revenue Commissioners is now in place.

In response to the Deputy’s specific question and as at 11 December 2020, Kilkenny County Council has awarded Restart Grant payments to 1,078 businesses. 1,119 businesses have benefitted from grant payments under the Restart Grant Plus Scheme.

In total, over 118,600 applications have been managed under both Restart schemes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 31 local authorities and the Local Government Management Agency for the efficiency with which they have managed applications under both schemes.

Steven Matthews (Wicklow, Green Party)
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111. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he is considering reopening the restart grants to new applications that would include businesses that may not have qualified under the previous criteria. [43718/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Restart Grant Plus Scheme, which closed to new application on 31st October, was only one part of the wider range of schemes available to firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs.

The new Revenue Commissioners’ Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, or ‘CRSS’, effectively replaced the Restart Grant Plus as part of Budget 2021. The CRSS offers a targeted, timely and temporary sector-specific support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels due to COVID- 19 of up to €5,000 per week. Accordingly, there are currently no plans to reopen the Restart Grant Plus Scheme to further applications.

The level of assistance now being provided to businesses across all sectors is unprecedented and ahead of that available in other jurisdictions, and we have sought to ensure that we had an appropriate mix of measures in place to support workers and businesses, so businesses can reopen and restore employment as we suppress the COVID-19 virus.

A regularly updated list of enterprise measures for businesses is available on my Department’s website.

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