Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (31)

Michael Colreavy


29 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps taken by Enterprise Ireland to promote business start-up for the long-term unemployed since coming into office. [33868/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

This Government is fully committed to its role of facilitating employment creation. Since coming into office, we have been working hard to create the improved economic conditions which will support the maintenance of existing jobs and the creation of new ones. Our objective is to put the country back on the road to economic recovery and full employment.

The Action Plan for Jobs, launched in February of this year, contains over 270 actions to be implemented by all 15 Government Departments as well as 36 State agencies, and is intended to improve supports for job-creating businesses and remove barriers to employment-creation across the economy. The Plan aims to deliver on the Taoiseach's commitment to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business, and increase the number of people at work in Ireland by 100,000 — from 1.8m to 1.9m — by 2016. The Action Plan for Jobs has also set the following established ambitions:

To get Ireland back to a top-five ranking in international competitiveness.

To build world-class clusters in key sectors of opportunity.

To build an indigenous engine of growth that drives up the export market share of Irish companies.

To get the number of people at work in the Irish economy back to 2m by 2020.

Enterprise Ireland has in place a number of supports to assist entrepreneurs, new start-ups, small businesses and microenterprises. Enterprise Ireland assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses encompass supports to develop and test business propositions which are at an early stage, ensuring there is a supportive environment including financial support for eligible start-up companies. Anyone interested in these supports should consult the agency's website at

Labour activation measures specifically targeted at the long term unemployed are a matter for the Minister for Social Protection. That Department operates a number of schemes which are aimed increasing the rate of business start-up and entrepreneurship among the long-term unemployed, such as the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. This allowance is designed to encourage the long term unemployed to take up self employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their social welfare payment plus secondary benefits over two years.

The Office of the Revenue Commissioners also operates tax schemes which are aimed at new start-up businesses, such as a Tax Exemption for New Start-up Companies and the Seed Capital Tax Relief Scheme. Further information on these schemes can be found at Please find appended information regarding Seed Capital Scheme, 3 Year Corporate Tax Exemption and Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.

Seed Capital Scheme.

If you start up and work full-time in your own company, you can claim back the income tax you paid in the previous 6 years to invest equity into a company (subscribed as shares) engaged in a qualifying trade. The amount of relief is restricted to the amount of the investment. Since November 2011, the scheme is open to a much wider range of sectors. The ceiling on recoverable tax can now be up to €100,000 in each of the 6 look back years.

3 Year Corporate Tax Exemption

The scheme provides relief from corporation tax on the trading income and certain gains of new start-up companies in the first 3 years of trading. There will be full relief on income and gains relating to the trade where total corporation tax liability in any of the first 3 accounting periods does not exceed €40,000. There will be marginal relief where the tax liability falls between €40,000 and €60,000. You can earn €120,000 tax free per year for the first 3 years.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

If you have been signing on for over 12 months and you would like to become self-employed, the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) allows you to keep your social welfare payment for 2 years (Year 1: 100%, Year 2: 75%). To qualify, you must be setting up a business that a Local Integrated Development Company or a Facilitator has approved in writing in advance. A short-term Enterprise Allowance can be claimed by anyone who has lost their job and who is eligible for Jobseekers' benefit. It runs until your Benefit payment would have expired.