COVID-19 income supports extended

Friday, 5 June 2020

Responding to new details about the future of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and Pandemic Unemployment Payment, Small Firms Association Director Sven Spollen-Behrens said: “The Government’s decision has today given thousands of small business owners the certainty they need to plan for the coming months. By extending the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme small business owners can pay their employees, get their businesses reopened and contribute to the reboot of the economy.

“This decision also recognised the needs of those in the hair and beauty, events, sports and leisure and hospitality sectors who are not scheduled to reopen until much later in the summer.

“Our self-employed community will be greatly relieved to hear that they will continue to qualify for the extended Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

“Recently released figures show that 658 SMEs have been approved for the SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme and the Microfinance Ireland Covid-19 Business Loan out of over 3000 applications.

“€15 million was distributed to 7,000 small firms through the Business Continuity Voucher out of more than 14,000 applications, only one small firm was approved for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, to date, out of 6 approved applications. While it is good to see money reaching firms – there’s a backlog of applications that need to be processed and application levels are considerably low.

“Feedback from members shows that eligibility criteria, cumbersome application processes, high interest rates and grants lacking sufficient scale to make a difference have resulted in poor take-up.

“For many sectors, these supports, are needed now and further significant measures will be needed in the coming months. The Small Firms Association stands ready to work with Government to ensure the proper distribution of existing COVID-19 business supports and that any further financial support measures introduced target small companies most in need and are processed efficiently.”

Sven Spollen-Behrens concluded: “For the small business community to bounce back when this health crisis is over, the next Government needs to put small firms at the heart of their recovery plans.”