Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Ceisteanna (40)

Brendan Smith


40. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if extra supports are being provided to businesses in Border counties in the context of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35047/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Enterprise)

My Department and its agencies have put a wide range of Brexit enterprise measures in place, covering potential Brexit impacts.

We have introduced a Brexit Readiness Checklist which highlights some of the key actions businesses can take to prepare for the changes Brexit will bring from 1 January 2021.

The Border Enterprise Development Fund, administered by Enterprise Ireland, provides for collaborative, enterprise capability-building projects advancing entrepreneurship, productivity and innovation in the Border Region. The Fund is part of a €28 million economic stimulus package announced for the six border counties of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal earlier this year. 

Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Ready for Customs’ scheme helps businesses prepare for the challenges of trading with and through the UK.  Their online Customs Insights course, and Brexit Readiness Checker, are also available. These are alongside grants, mentoring and training to enable businesses to examine their exposure and capability to meet the challenges and opportunities Brexit presents.

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) offer “Prepare Your Business for Customs” workshops. They also provide grants to business responding to Brexit challenges, including the Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters (TAME) grant of €2,500, and LEAN for Micro grants to assist productivity improvements.

InterTradeIreland’s (ITI) Brexit Advisory Service offers a focal point for businesses working to navigate changes in cross-border trading relationships as a result of Brexit. ITI has run a series of awareness-raising events to help improve knowledge of customs processes and procedures.  These events also identify actions businesses can take in areas like logistics and supply chain management. Their Brexit Planning Voucher enables eligible businesses to seek professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for Brexit. This helps businesses get advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, and regulatory and customs issues.

Budget 2021 provides a significant package of tax and expenditure measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help businesses across all sectors. It is unprecedented in terms of its scale at almost €90 billion.  This is in addition to the July Stimulus, which was worth more than €5 billion, including €2 billion in loan guarantees for the new Credit Guarantee Scheme.

The new payment structure for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment includes an increase in the top rate to €350 for those who were earning in excess of €400 per week.

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme is also being aligned with the amendment to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, with the top payment increasing to €350 for those earning over €400.

The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, known as CRSS, is now operational through the Revenue Commissioners.  It offers a targeted, timely and temporary financial aid to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels due to COVID.  This can be up to €5,000 per week.

My Department is providing a wide range of grants, loans and advisory services to affected businesses. This includes 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 VAT rates, down from 23% to 21%, and a reduction in the 13.5% rate to 9%, together with a range of additional public capital investment measures to support the domestic economy.

Government will continue to address suitable enterprise measures in the context of the evolving COVID-19 and Brexit challenges to our economy and our people.