Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
102. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if restart grants will be provided for the hospitality industry in advance of the reopening of the sector to assist with cashflow issues that most businesses in this sector are facing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30025/21]
The financial support the Government is providing small businesses and workers affected by the pandemic is unprecedented. These supports include the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employment Wage Subsidy (EWSS). Support for business includes the weekly Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) of payment for businesses forced to close their doors to the public, the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC), the lower Tourism VAT rate of 9% further extended to September 2022, a commercial rates waiver extended in its current form for another three months, the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme as well as low-cost loans. Information on the wide range of supports can be found on my Department’s website .
Government is in no doubt how important the COVID supports such as the EWSS and CRSS have been to businesses and the role played by grant schemes such as the Restart Grants, SBASC and the various sectoral supports administered by relevant Departments.
The CRSS has provided vital support to businesses that have been forced to close or restrict access to their premises on foot of public health regulations. The CRSS has been extended until the end of 2021 and enhanced with a significantly higher restart payment – three weeks at double rate of payment (to a maximum of €30,000).
Further targeted supports have also been introduced including a new additional Business Resumption Support Scheme from September for businesses with significantly reduced turnover.
I am acutely aware of the difficulties SME's continue to face due to this pandemic and that is why I have expanded the SBASC scheme which will now take into account businesses who do not pay rates and also businesses that have a turnover below €50,000. Phase 2 of this scheme will be open for applications in early June, with a closing date of 21st July. Further details of the scheme including all eligibility criteria will shortly be available on my Department's website www.enterprise.gov.ie and on Local Authority websites.
We are committed to the economic recovery of the country and work is ongoing across Government to ensure the supports which will be in place are sufficient, targeted and sustainable. The National Recovery Plan will chart the pathway forward for our country.
My colleague, Minister Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, may be able to provide more specific details on these supports for the hospitality sector, for which she has lead responsibility.
The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) is the largest loan guarantee scheme in the history of the State.The Scheme provides €2 billion in lending, for terms up to five-and-a-half years and offers a range of lending products between €10,000 and €1 million at interest rates below market rates for similar type loans. It is available to SMEs and small mid-caps (business with less than 500 employees), including primary producers (businesses engaged in the farming and seafood sectors). The Scheme is available until 31 December 2021 following a Government decision in March to extend it in line with the extension of the European Commission’s Temporary Framework on State Aid.
In order to provide the public with relevant data on the performance of the scheme, my Department publishes weekly and monthly reports on its website. These reports provide data on loans drawn under a wide variety of themes and are available at enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/COVID-19-Credit-Guarantee-Scheme-Performance-Reports.html.
As at 20 May, 159 businesses in County Clare have availed of the CCGS and have drawn loans with a value of €7,807,302.
The Scheme is currently available through three commercial banks, six non-bank lenders and nineteen credit unions. This long-term policy goal of diversification adds competition in the market and ensures a wide range of loan products are available throughout the regions.
I would strongly encourage businesses to avail of the low-cost lending facilities provided under the scheme as they look towards reopening.
The SBASC was introduced to help businesses not eligible for the Government’s COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and the Fáilte Ireland Business Continuity grant or other direct sectoral grant schemes.
The Scheme was launched on 9th March 2021 through the Local Authorities, with a closing date of 21st April for applications for Q1 2021.
As you may be aware I recently announced the expansion of the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC). The expansion will now allow for non rated businesses and businesses with a turnover below €50,000 to apply for the grant.Businesses operating from a non rateable premises will now be able to apply for the grant if they meet all eligible criteria.
The details of the second phase of the small business assistance scheme for COVID (SBASC) are currently being finalised and will be open for applications from early June, with a closing date of 21st July. Local Authorities will once again be administering this scheme.