Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (141, 149, 181)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

141. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance the steps he will take to assist the wedding industry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8047/21]

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Holly Cairns

Question:

149. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Finance if he will extend eligibility under the Covid restrictions support scheme to wedding suppliers given the severe impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on this sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8341/21]

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Neale Richmond

Question:

181. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered financial supports for the exercise industry to aid in its recovery from Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8867/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141, 149 and 181 together.

The 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.

Details of CRSS are set out in Finance Act 2020 and detailed operational guidelines, which are based on the terms and conditions of the scheme as set out in the legislation, have been published on the Revenue website at: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/budget-information/2021/crss-guidelines.pdf

To qualify under the scheme a business must, under specific terms of the Covid restrictions, be required to either prohibit or significantly restrict, customers from accessing their business premises to acquire goods or services, with the result that the business either has to temporarily close or to operate at a significantly reduced level. For the purposes of CRSS, a qualifying “business premises” is a building or other similar fixed physical structure in which a business activity is ordinarily carried on.

Where a business does not ordinarily operate from a fixed business premises, such as certain wedding businesses or outdoor fitness/activity businesses, that business will not meet the eligibility criteria for CRSS.

It is not sufficient that the trade of a business has been impacted because of a reduction in customer demand as a consequence of Covid-19. The scheme only applies where, as a direct result of the specific terms of the Government restrictions, the business is required to either prohibit or significantly restrict access to its business premises.

I have no plans to change the eligibility criteria for the CRSS or to introduce sectoral supports. The CRSS is just one of the Government’s supports to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. Businesses who are not eligible for CRSS may be entitled to alternative supports put in place by the Government, including the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme. Businesses may also be eligible under the Debt Warehousing Scheme to ‘park’ certain VAT and PAYE (Employer) liabilities, excess payments received under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), outstanding balances of self-assessed Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020.

I would draw Deputies attention to the recent announcement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment of a new €60 million COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) that is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the Government’s other existing schemes, designed to help with fixed costs. I will continue to work with Ministerial colleagues to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.