Thursday, 26 November 2020

Ceisteanna (84, 106, 111, 133, 134, 145, 196, 206, 207, 208)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

84. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance his plans to extend the eligibility criteria for the Covid restrictions support scheme, CRSS, in order that it can be accessed by sole traders and small businesses such as taxi drivers, artists, musicians and live entertainment workers that do not have public facing premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39234/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

106. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance his plans to review the Covid restrictions support scheme in view of the number of businesses that are not eligible for the scheme despite being severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. [39188/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

111. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Finance the status of the operation of the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39190/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

133. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered the exclusion of travel agents from the CRSS scheme under level 3 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37043/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

134. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Finance if the Covid restrictions support scheme will be expanded to include businesses such as travel agents that have seen significant reductions in turnover as a result of Covid-19 but are currently only eligible for the Covid restrictions support scheme while under level 4 and 5 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39151/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

145. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the reason he has excluded sole traders and small businesses like taxi drivers, artists, musicians and live entertainment workers who do not have public-facing premises from accessing the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39231/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pa Daly

Ceist:

196. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Finance the reason the CRSS, in accordance with section 4.2.4, specifically excludes those wholesalers supplying goods to the hospitality and catering industry from the scheme given such wholesalers’ business has dramatically decreased directly in line with those in the hospitality and catering industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34977/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

206. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance the advice he can provide on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39316/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

207. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance if he will address the limitation of the Covid restrictions support scheme, which requires companies to have a fixed premises and, as a direct result, excludes many businesses in the events industry, artists, taxi drivers and others from availing of the scheme; the options available to these companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39325/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joe Carey

Ceist:

208. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Finance if he will amend the Covid restrictions support scheme to include destination management companies for inbound travel (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39342/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 84, 106, 111, 133, 134, 145, 196, 206, 207 and 208 together.

The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) was announced in the Budget on 13 October 2020. The details are set out in Finance Bill 2020 and guidelines on the operation of the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, are available on the Revenue website: (https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/budget-information/2021/crss-guidelines.pdf).

The support is available to companies and self-employed individuals who carry on a trade or trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, introduced in line with the Living with Covid-19 Plan, with the result that the business is required to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises. Generally, this refers to Covid restrictions at Level 3, 4 or 5 of the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19 but certain businesses may qualify for the support where lower levels of restrictions are in operation.

The CRSS applies to businesses carrying on trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, which requires the business to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises and as a result, is operating at less than 25% of turnover in 2019.

Where a business does not ordinarily operate from a fixed business premises located in a region that is subject to restrictions, such as an events company or destination management company, that business will not meet the eligibility criteria. Similarly artists, musicians, taxi drivers and live entertainment workers are not eligible.

The CRSS is targeted at businesses whose premises are affected by the restrictions. It is not sufficient that the trade of a business, such as a travel agency, has been impacted because of a reduction in customer demand as a consequence of Covid-19, or that the business supplies goods or services to another business that qualifies for the support because, under the Covid restrictions, that other business is required to temporarily close, or significantly reduce, its activity. However, where customers of such a business are prohibited or significantly restricted from accessing the business premises in which the business is ordinarily carried on, as may be the case with travel agents under level 5 of the Plan for Living with Covid-19, the business may qualify for the CRSS.

The CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions. Businesses who do not qualify under this scheme may be entitled to support under various measures put in place by Government, including existing supports available under the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the range of measures announced as part of Budget 2021 to support particular sectors including Tourism and live entertainment. They may also be eligible to warehouse VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts and also excess payments received by employers under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the balance of Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020 for self-assessed taxpayers if applicable.

Deputies will be aware that the Finance Bill is currently progressing through the Houses of the Oireachtas and I have no plans to extend eligibility of the scheme.