In 2020, an €8 million Restart Grant Plus for B&Bs was funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and administered by Fáilte Ireland on their behalf. Applications for the two phases of the scheme closed in October and November 2020. A further round of that scheme is a matter for my colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. More broadly in regard to future supports, the Government has committed to publishing a National Economic Recovery Plan which will consider more targeted measures to help re-boot those sectors, such as tourism, who will face particular challenges during the recovery phase when the economy reopens.
I have also received the first Report from the Recovery Oversight Group (ROG) on 15th February. The Group, which has been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Tourism Recovery Plan, has identified a number of areas that require particular attention in the context of the survival and recovery of the tourism sector in Ireland. The recommendations from the first Report include proposals, many of which will benefit the B&B sector, relating to maintenance of the CRSS and EWSS; clear criteria around reopening; extension of the Local Authority Rates Waiver; extending the period for the 9% VAT rate; progressing insurance reform; and revising the Stay and Spend Scheme. A number of these supports, namely the CRSS, EWSS, and Rates waiver, have since been extended to end June 2021).
I have written to Ministers Varadkar, Donohoe and O’Brien and asked them to consider the Report and also brought the Report to Cabinet for information. I will keep the ROG report under consideration in the context of National Economic Recovery Plan and the development of additional supports.