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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (144)

Jennifer Whitmore

Ceist:

144. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will consider establishing a direct helpline for small businesses navigating the reopening of the economy as the country emerges from the current pandemic; the additional supports he plans to introduce to assist small businesses transitioning out of level 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29491/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Enterprise)

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 my Department established a dedicated Business Supports Call Centre to provide information to business owners seeking assistance following the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic. It assisted businesses in identifying the relevant business supports for which they are eligible and directing businesses on how and where to access grants, loans, mentoring, training and advice provisions. The Centre has a dedicated phone number and email address.

In November 2020 in recognition of the success of this vital resource for businesses, the role of the Business Support Call Centre was expanded and renamed the Enterprise Information Centre.  The Enterprise Information Centre provides a central point of contact within my Department for businesses to be provided with information about, and signposted to, the range of services and assistance available from my Department, its Offices and Agencies.

The Enterprise Information Centre advises callers on where to find relevant information on the Gov.ie website. It provides up-to-date information on the enhanced financial measures that Government have put in place as the country emerges from the current pandemic.  It can be contacted by telephone at 353 1 631 2002 and by email at infobusinesssupport@enterprise.gov.ie

The Government has put in place a comprehensive package to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), the small business assistance scheme for COVID (SBASC), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates. Details of the wide range of supports available are on my Department’s website  Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses - DETE (enterprise.gov.ie)

The SBASC scheme will soon take into account businesses who do not pay rates and also businesses that have a turnover below €50,000.  Phase 2 of this scheme will be open for applications in early June, with a closing date of 21st July.  Further details of the scheme including all eligibility criteria will shortly be available on my Department's website www.enterprise.gov.ie and on Local Authority websites.   However, businesses who were in receipt of CRSS on or after 1 January 2021 will not be eligible for SBASC, which was introduced to assist businesses who were not eligible for CRSS.

These measures demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the survival of viable enterprises. Work is ongoing across Government to ensure the supports which will be in place over the coming months are sufficient, targeted and sustainable. Details on these supports are being announced as part of our Economic Recovery Plan.

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