Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
109. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the additional supports the Economic Recovery Plan will put in place to help persons back to work and to help SMEs recover; the breakdown of applications approved for the small business assistance scheme for Covid in County Limerick to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30089/21]
194. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the additional supports the Economic Recovery Plan will put in place to help persons back to work and to help SMEs survive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30169/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 194 together.
Since the start of this pandemic, the Government has provided unprecedented levels of aid to businesses aimed at ensuring that viable businesses will survive this pandemic.
The Government was clear that there would be no cliff edge to this assistance and that businesses would be given as much certainty about the levels of help which will be available in the future as this pandemic allows.
The Economic Recovery Plan provides this certainty and a clear pathway for the labour market and enterprise towards new opportunities.
The Plan includes in excess of €3.5 billion in further labour market and enterprise schemes and just under €1 billion additional funding under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
The Economic Recovery Plan details the measures the Government is taking to enable people to return to employment and help SMEs, not only to survive, but to grow.
To achieve these objectives, the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will remain in place until year end to aid those severely affected businesses who continue to be subject to public health restrictions.
For those businesses existing CRSS in June, bonus payments will be available in the coming weeks and a new scheme called the Business Resumption Support Scheme (BRSS) will provide additional targeted aid for those businesses ineligible for CRSS.
From the point of view of both helping businesses and providing employment, the extension of the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) scheme as laid out in the Economic and Recovery Plan is significant.
The EWSS will be crucial for businesses as they re-open as it subsidises a portion of labour costs which gives businesses the opportunity to trade profitably even when operating under public health guidelines which may constrain demand.
The extension of the reduced VAT rate of 9% is another measure which will allow businesses operating in the highly impacted hospitality sector to maintain margins, re-employ workers and return to profitability.
Other aids include the announcement of phase 2 of the SBASC grant which will see the grant extended to those businesses without a rateable premises and the introduction of a smaller grant for those micro enterprises who are not eligible for SBASC.
The continued deferral of the €2.3 Billion in tax liabilities owing to the Exchequer and the fact that liabilities incurred for a short period after trading resumes can continue to be warehoused will provide additional liquidity to aid businesses, including SMEs, and help return them to profitability.
The plan provides a timetable for the future of available schemes over the coming months which will give businesses the certainty they require in order to plan for the future and re-employ staff.
The proposals in the plan will help both businesses and employees recover from the impact of the pandemic by enabling businesses to begin growing again and reverse the losses in employment suffered over recent months.
Regarding Deputy O’Donnell’s request for the breakdown of applications for the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC), 306 applications have been received for County Limerick. Of that figure to date 113 have been approved for payment, 37 are still being assessed and 156 applications have been refused.
The refusals have occurred due to eligibility requirements such as the business’s turnover not being down 75% during the required period, the business not operating from a rateable premises, or the business not reaching the €50k turnover requirement.