The Government's July Stimulus introduced a €7bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, the pandemic unemployment payment for the self-employed, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs. Full details on all COVID19 supports for business are available at: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/
The full range of Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant and advisory supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
The July Stimulus package was designed to help businesses to open, to help those already open to stay open, to get staff back to work and for those who cannot go back to their old jobs, there are new opportunities.
The range of measures in place to assist businesses include direct grants to support viable businesses and jobs, including new hire. We have extended the wage subsidy scheme, which will run until the end of March 2021 and will be open to firms that do not currently participate and open to workers like seasonal workers who were not previously included, and we are giving companies extra assistance through an enhanced Restart Plus grant of up to €25,000. From 1st September, the six-month reduction in the VAT came into effect, going down from 23% to 21%.
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.
I am working with my colleagues across Government to assist businesses impacted by Covid-19 and I will continue to keep the supports provided for enterprise under review with the goal of setting our country towards economic recovery.