On 23 July, the Government announced a €7.4bn Jobs Stimulus Package which aims to help businesses get back on their feet, get people back to work and build economic confidence.
Outlined below are some of the measures covered by the stimulus.
- The Restart Grant for Enterprises is being extended to a broader base of SMEs and expanded by €300 million. The maximum payment level is being increased to €25,000. Further top ups may be available to firms who have already received payments under the existing restart grant.
- Under the €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Government will provide an 80% guarantee for a wide range of credit products from €10,000 to €1 million up to a maximum term of 6 years.
- All businesses (with limited exceptions) will be granted a waiver of commercial rates for the six months to end-September 2020, at a total cost of €600 million. This has been extended to the end of 2020, as announced in the Budget.
- The Future Growth Loan Scheme is being expanded from €200 million to €500 million. This will enable businesses with up to 499 employees to invest for the longer-term at competitive rates.
- A €55 million Package of Liquidity and Enterprise Investment measures will be put in place to support small and micro companies through additional resources for MicroFinance Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. This includes measures to reduce interest rates on lending for micro and small businesses, including grants equivalent to 0% interest on the first year of SBCI and MFI loans.
- There will be a further funding call of the Online Retail Scheme of €5.5 million through Enterprise Ireland. This will support businesses with more than 10 employees in developing their online presence. The Scheme opens for applications on Monday, 31 August 2020 and closes at 3pm on Monday, 28 September 2020.
- There will be an expansion of the Online Trading Voucher Scheme from the Local Enterprise Offices of €20 million, which will support small businesses with less than 10 employees in developing their online presence.
- A €26 million Covid-19 Adaptation Fund to help tourism and hospitality businesses offset some of the costs incurred in adapting their premises or operations for re-opening. The Fund is being administered by Fáilte Ireland and eligible businesses can apply for these grants from now until 31 October 2020.
Employer and Employee Supports
- A new Employment Wage Support Scheme will succeed the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme at the end of August and will run until April 2021. Employers whose turnover has fallen 30% from 2019 figures will receive a flat-rate subsidy of up to €203 per week per employee, including for seasonal staff and new employees.
- A new income tax relief for self-employed individuals will be made available to those who were profitable in 2019 but, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, incur losses in 2020.
- A 6-month reduction in the standard rate of VAT from 23% to 21%, effective from the beginning of September, at a cost of €440 million.
- The government will pass legislation to confirm the previously announced Warehousing of Tax Liabilities. This will allow for businesses affected by COVID-19 to delay payment of their PAYE and VAT debts in part of in full for a set period with no interest or penalties.
- A Reduced Interest Rate of 3% will be applied to agreed repayments of all tax debt (where agreement has been reached prior to 31 October 2020), in order to provide support to taxpayers experiencing difficulty with tax liabilities.
- The Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme will provide a €2,000 payment to support employers to take on new apprenticeships in 2020.
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