Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
232. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps taken or planned to protect employment in the event of another surge of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44637/20]
I am acutely aware that some businesses, particularly those in close contact sectors, will remain impacted by further public health responses necessary to contain the virus until the Covid-19 vaccine can be rolled out.
I would remind the Deputy that much has already been done to assist enterprises through the crisis. The PUP aims to maintain incomes for those who become unemployed and the EWSS assists firms to cover wage costs. My Department also offers a range of business measures including low cost loans, vouchers and mentoring and Revenue has allowed many taxes due to be warehoused which is an extremely important liquidity support for businesses to help them manage the impact of the pandemic.
The COVID Restrictions Support Scheme has been introduced to help businesses to meet ongoing costs through periods of restriction and provide employment as restrictions are eased and activity resumes.
The recent Budget allocated significant additional resources to Departments to provide supports to different sectors. I would highlight the €395m provided to the Department of Transport and the €222m allocated to the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
These additional monies will go towards supporting businesses, including those not in receipt of the COVID-19 Restrictions Scheme, such as through the €30m for private bus operators, €55m for a focused business support scheme for strategic tourism businesses along with €50m to support the live entertainment sector.
The National Economic Plan is also being finalised. The Plan will set out the Government’s policy objectives to build a renewed economy for the future and restore employment levels in secure, high quality jobs. Education and skills will be central to the Plan with a strong focus on young people, on those whose jobs are impacted by structural changes to the economy and labour market and on empowering our people to prosper in a changing world.