Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Finance
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
91. To ask the Minister for Finance his plans to remove the present €5,000 weekly cap on payments under the Covid restriction support scheme due to the reality that many larger hotels will only at the best case scenario do very limited trade in 2021 and therefore have sustained significant losses over 2019 and 2020 in view of the continuing lockdown of the economy and the effect Covid-19 is having on the tourist economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17887/21]
The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (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. The support is available to companies, self-employed individuals and partnerships who carry on a trade or trading activities, the profits from which are chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D, from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions introduced in line with the Living with Covid-19 Plan. The details of the scheme are set out in Finance Act 2020 and guidelines on the operation of the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, are available on the Revenue website
The CRSS applies to businesses carrying on trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, which requires the business to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises and as a result, is operating at less than 25% of turnover in 2019.
The €5,000 cap is designed to ensure that, while any size business may access the scheme, the main beneficiaries of CRSS are SMEs and high turnover/low fixed costs businesses do not disproportionately benefit.
The CRSS has provided substantial support for over 21,600 eligible businesses. Up to 29 March, CRSS payments of €410m have been made to businesses since the inception of the Scheme, approximately €260m of which has been paid in the first quarter of 2021. The hospitality and tourism sector (bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and other accommodation providers) has received approximately €240m in CRSS payments since last October and €105 million of these payments have been made by Revenue in the first quarter of 2021.
The CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions, and supplements other Covid-related supports such as the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).
There are no plans to change the eligibility criteria for the CRSS or the €5,000 cap. 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.
I have confirmed that the CRSS and EWSS will be extended until June 2021, and as I have outlined previously, consideration is being given to the fact that continued support could be necessary out to the end of 2021 to help maintain viable businesses and employment and to provide businesses with certainty to the maximum extent possible. Decisions on the form of such support will take account of emerging circumstances and economic conditions as they become clearer.