Government ministers announced more financial measures today costing up to €6.5bn over the coming years to help “re-boot” the Irish economy.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said €2bn will be made available for loan guarantee schemes for small and medium businesses, a waiving of commercial rates for three months, and a deferral of tax obligations for a period.
The measures are:
- A €10,000 restart grant for micro and small businesses based on a rates/waiver rebate from 2019;
- A three month commercial rates waiver for impacted businesses;
- A €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms;
- A €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs for terms ranging from 3 months to 6 years, which will be below market interest rates;
- The ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of twelve months after recommencement of trading during which time there will be no debt enforcement action taken by Revenue and no interest charge accruing in respect of the warehoused debt;
- A commitment to local authorities to make up the rates shortfall, so that local authorities can continue provide full services to the public.
“Today’s package of measures aims to help our businesses to restart, reconnect and rehire staff who have been laid off or furloughed,” said Minister Donohoe.
He said the Government has already brought forward a series of measures to support those impacted by this global pandemic.
They have included emergency income support such as the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. It is now necessary to introduce a number of additional measures to aid the economy as the Covid-19 restrictions start to be lifted.
Minister Donohoe said: “On top of the measures previously put in place by Government, this suite of measures being outlined today is designed to build confidence, further assist businesses in terms of the management of their companies, and allow them to begin looking to the future and start charting a path forward for weeks and months ahead.
“We will continue to seek the best ways of supporting our people, and wider society, and rebuilding our economy so that we can get people back to work safely. We will do this by being cognisant of official public health advice and doing what is in the best interests of all our people.”
Finance minister Paschal Donohoe said the measures are designed to “minimise the damage” of the pandemic.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys said the economy had moved past the initial shock phase of the coronavirus crisis and was now in a stabilization phase.
The new measures announced today were to fund the third phase – “the re-boot phase.”
She said: “The roadmap announced by Government yesterday outlines a pathway to reopening our economy. This suite of supports represents the next phase in our ongoing response to support businesses through the pandemic and will assist them as they plan for the future’.
“We now have a comprehensive suite of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst our SMEs.
“The new €250 million Restart Fund in particular will be a critically important tool to support small businesses in our towns and villages to reopen their doors and get back on their feet with supports of up to €10,000 available.”