Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (165)

Niall Collins

Question:

165. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the assistance he can provide to a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38431/20]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

My Department and its agencies have been focused on coming up with solutions to help businesses overcome the difficulties caused by COVID-19.

In the wider context, the operation and reopening of Ireland's economy and society will be guided by the need to manage risk and repair the damage that COVID-19 has inflicted on society.

The Plan for Living with COVID-19 specifically recognises the impact of restrictions on weddings as a category of organised events. I am pleased that Fáilte Ireland has developed guidelines that can be used for the organisation of wedding functions. These are available on Fáilte Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Support Hub at: www.failteireland.ie.

Budget 2021 provides a significant package of tax and expenditure measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. The measures in the Budget include the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, cash for businesses, low cost loans, commercial rates waivers and deferred tax liabilities.

We have also announced a six-month reduction in the VAT, going down from 23% to 21%, a reduction in the 13.5% VAT rate to 9% which will benefit the hospitality sector.

The New Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, operated by Revenue, offers a targeted, timely and temporary sector-specific support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels due to COVID. We are making changes to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the EWSS increasing the top rate to €350 for those who were earning in excess of €400 per week.

As announced in the July Stimulus, the Enterprise Support Grant was extended to assist eligible self-employed, including sole traders, who exit the PUP or jobseekers schemes to re-start their business. A self-employed person who closes their PUP should send their grant application to their local Intreo Centre to be processed. Further information is available at www.gov.ie.

Any person who is experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for other financial supports from the Department of Social Protection. Information on the supports available are at www.gov.ie.

We are providing more and cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the new €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme. I announced the reopening of MFI lending on 31st August and I launched the €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme on 7th September.

These measures are supplementary to the wide range of existing loan and voucher schemes available to assist businesses affected by COVID-19 provided through the July Jobs Stimulus and other Government initiatives. 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 a roadmap to recovery for the events and hospitality industry, for which she has lead responsibility.

I am aware that there are certain businesses which might not be eligible for the CRSS or other measures announced in the budget, such as the €50 million fund for live entertainment. I have asked my officials to conduct work along with officials from the Department of Finance and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, regarding how many businesses might be in this position and to report back to me with proposals.