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By Chamber Press Office, 24 July 2020
The Government’s stimulus package is a welcome shot in the arm for struggling businesses, according to business group Dublin Chamber.
Dublin Chamber, which represents businesses in the Greater Dublin Area, said that the measures will come as a relief to many companies uncertain about their future.
Dublin Chamber’s Director of Public & International Affairs Aebhric Mc Gibney said: “This is a badly needed injection of cash and credit into the economy. It is important that scarring effects from the crisis be avoided such as long-term unemployment. The announcement today offers hope in this regard. Businesses will be relieved by the extension of Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to April 2021, and the commitment to reform the scheme. It is vital that this scheme is reformed based on feedback from the business community, and we look forward to seeing the full details of the planned changes."
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will continue as the Employment Wage Support Scheme from September.
“While the economy sorely needed an ambitious measure of this kind to address the immediate challenge, we also need to keep an eye on the long-term consequences of changes to the labour tax system,” said Mr Mc Gibney.
Restart Grant Expansion “Heartening”
Dublin Chamber said that the expanded Restart Grant has the potential to help many companies that cannot take on more debt, adding that this move shows the Government is listening to business concerns. The grant has been increased to a minimum payment of €4,000 and maximum of €25,000, and now applies to firms with up to 250 employees.
“It is heartening to see the pay-outs increased and eligibility expanded. However, we remain concerned by the linking of the Restart Grant to commercial rates, which disappointingly means that many businesses do not qualify for the support. We have been telling Government over recent weeks that many businesses are simply not in a position to take on more debt. Many otherwise viable businesses have been forced to close. As both fixed costs and debts have increased many firms have simply reached their repayment capacity. That is why grant aid like the Restart Grant is so important for businesses,” said Mr Mc Gibney.
Staycation Scheme Welcome
The “staycation voucher” scheme, which will apply to food and non-alcoholic drinks as well as hotels, was also welcomed by Dublin Chamber, but the group warned that public awareness will be critical to its effectiveness.
Mr Mc Gibney said: “Government has a key role to play in stimulating domestic demand. Dublin’s tourism businesses have been battered in recent months, with many on the brink of failure and thousands of livelihoods at stake. While the value of the hospitality industry to rural Ireland is well understood, its importance to the Dublin region is often overlooked.
“Therefore, the introduction of the staycation voucher scheme is very welcome. However, it is vital that this tax refund is accompanied by an ambitious promotional campaign to raise public awareness. There are many good schemes out there which many taxpayers are simply not aware of. We cannot let this one join them on the shelf. If we want this refund to work, consumers need to see its value and know how to apply for it,” said Mr Mc Gibney.