I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government will offer as much assistance and support as possible.
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 are in addition to those announced in the July Stimulus, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), cash for businesses, low cost loans, commercial rates waivers and deferred tax liabilities. Details of the wide range of COVID-19 schemes are available on my Department’s website at https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/.
As a result of the fact that businesses have to close, we are making changes to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the EWSS. The new payment structure for the PUP includes the increase in the top rate to €350 for those who were earning in excess of €400 per week. This change to payment rates will apply in respect of all existing and new applicants. The EWSS is also being amended to align with the amendment to PUP, with the top payment increasing to €350 for those earning over €400.
As part of Budget 2021, a new COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), became operational from 13th October through Revenue and offers a targeted, timely and temporary sector-specific support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels due to COVID of up to €5,000 per week.
We are providing more and cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the new €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme
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%.