Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
242. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the full extent of supports made available to the manufacturing and services sectors, including tourism and events based in County Kildare since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak; the number of jobs protected directly or indirectly in this context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44610/20]
I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance and support as possible. A comprehensive range of measures is in place for manufacturing and service firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities. Further listing of supports is available on my Department’s website.
The Employment Wage Support Scheme was announced as part of Budget 2021 to assist employers in keeping their staff on the payroll. This economy-wide support provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers.
The Revenue Commissioners COVID Restrictions Support Scheme 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. For those businesses that unfortunately have had to stay closed, three double weeks of the CRSS will be paid, in recognition that December is normally the busiest time of the year for many businesses.
As part of Budget 2021, my colleague the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD announced details of €1,081,818,000 gross funding allocated to her department for 2021, covering a range of robust new funding streams and measures to ensure the survival and recovery of businesses and operations in sectors overseen by the department.
These measures include a new €55m support fund for strategic tourism businesses, a new €50m support for live entertainment to include a range of supports for live entertainment events to take place in 2021 in venues across the country, other measures to support music, and a new grant scheme for equipment and €130m for the Arts Council.
We are providing more and cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the new €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme. We are continuing to see strong take-up of the range of supports available for businesses, in particular of the cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the new €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme. There has also been a surge in applications for Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund, the non-repayable grant element of that Scheme is proving particularly attractive to company’s seeking urgent working capital.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Enterprise Ireland has paid €4.5 million to client companies in Kildare to support the implementation of their business plans to improve competitiveness, drive innovation and support internationalisation activity.
Enterprise Ireland, on behalf of my Department, ran two competitive calls for funding for the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme to assist companies to achieve a step change in online capability. This fund was open to retailers who had 10 or more full-time employees and had the potential to sustain or create jobs, generate growth in online transactions and with an ambition to internationalise their business in future. 19 retail companies from Kildare received funding totalling €721k to support the implementation of their plan to optimise their online presence to ensure domestic and international visibility.
Enterprise Ireland’s Centre of Excellence is currently engaging with each of the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in regard to the 2020 Annual Employment Survey for which data on job numbers will be collected and collated in the new year and published in Q1 2021.
I will continue to work with my colleagues to monitor the schemes of our Departments and to identify practical actions to protect jobs, help businesses and build their resilience through this unprecedented time.