SINN Féin Deputies have called for additional liquidity supports for SMEs.
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Finance Pearse Doherty and spokesperson for Business, Enterprise & Innovation Imelda Munster have written to Minister Donohoe and Minister Humphreys requesting further supports.
Measures proposed include an extension of the commercial rates break, a new Back to Business Loan Scheme at zero interest rates and grants paid directly to SMEs in affected sectors such as Retail, Tourism and Hospitality.
Deputy Doherty said: “Today I and my colleague Imelda Munster wrote to the Minister for Finance and Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation requesting additional supports for SMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“According to the Central Bank, there are more than 220 thousand SMEs that together employ more than 750,000 people, that have been severely or moderately impacted by COVID-19.
“Economic recovery and return to employment for tens of thousands of workers can only be happen if our SMEs recover. They can only do that with support from Government.
“The supports put in place by Government to support small businesses have been totally inadequate to date. Between 23rd March and 11th May, not a single loan was approved to SMEs under the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme. Up to 7th May, less than €7 million in loans had been granted to small and micro enterprises under Microfinance Ireland’s COVID-19 loan scheme.”
“SMEs need support and they are not getting enough of it.
“Today Sinn Féin have called for a number of measures that would provide immediate relief and working capital to SMEs, including:
- An SME Grant Scheme for SMEs similar to that introduced by the Northern Executive and Sinn Féin Finance Minister Conor Murphy, where one-off grants of £10,000 to £25,000 were provided to SMEs. The current policy of grants equivalent to no more than a firm’s 2019 commercial rates bill is totally inadequate to address the cashflow problems of our SMEs;
- A Back to Business Loan Scheme that would provide loans of between €2,000 and €60,000 for small firms, with a 100% guarantee to participating finance providers and a 0% portfolio cap. Unlike the current SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, SMEs would not be required to make any repayments in the first 12 months, with no premium applied;
- Reducing the cost of borrowing under existing Government loan schemes such as the covid-19 loan scheme through Microfinance Ireland by applying zero interest rates in the first 12 months;
- Extending the commercial rates break for a further three months, with an additional three month deferral available for affected businesses.
“These are policies that should be implemented as soon as possible to support our SMEs, who are the backbone of our economy. Without the recovery of our SMEs, there will be no economic recovery.”Tags: