Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Councillor Rena Donaghey, has welcomed the new jobs stimulus package announced by Government yesterday.
Councillor Donaghey has particularly welcomed the focus on supports for small and medium sized enterprises.
The July Jobs Stimulus Plan is aimed at boosting economic recovery and jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic and includes over €4 billion of direct expenditure and €1 billion of taxation measures to directly support businesses, as well as €2 billion in credit guarantees.
Councillor Donaghey said: “I am delighted to welcome this new package of supports particularly the Employment Wage Support Scheme, the expanded Restart Grant Scheme and the extended waiver on commercial rates.
“These supports have played a strong role to date in ensuring the survival of businesses around Donegal in these challenging and uncertain times and this announcement will come as a huge relief to many business owners around the county.”
As part of the measures the Employment Wage Support Scheme will succeed the Wage Subsidy Scheme and will be extended until April 2021. Employers whose turnover has fallen 30 per cent will receive a flat-rate subsidy of up to €203 per week per employee.
The scheme has also expanded to include seasonal staff and new start up firms operating in affected areas will be included and to qualify an employer must be operating on no more than 70% of turnover this year compared to last year.
The Restart Grant has also been significantly expanded with a further €300 million of direct grant funding to be allocated to businesses.
The maximum grant available will rise from €10,000 to €25,000 and the minimum payment will rise from €2,000 to €4,000. Firms that have accessed the Restart Grant will be eligible to apply for a second top-up payment to a total combined value of the revised minimum and maximum grant levels.
The revised criteria for assessing the Restart Grant Scheme will include businesses that have 250 employees or less, turnover of less than €100,000 per employee and a reduced turnover of 25% since the Covid19 pandemic.
Under the revised Restart Grant, support will also be provided for some enterprises that could not access the original grant scheme. Non rateable B&Bs and rateable sports businesses will now be eligible for a grant payment of €4,000.
Commercial rates will be waived for all businesses, with limited exceptions, until the end of September.
The stimulus package also includes an industry wide VAT rate reduction from 23% to 21% between September this year and February of next year.
Additional resources will also be provided to MicroFinance Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices including a package of liquidity and enterprise investment measures worth to support small and micro companies.
A new staycation tax rebate has also been included enabling people to claim money back on part of their hospitality costs while holidaying in Ireland. The new “stay and spend” rebate will come into force in October and will run until April 2021.
Cllr. Donaghey believes that “this rebate will aid Donegal County Council’s efforts to support the Tourism sector and in particular the new Tourism Marketing campaign which will be led out by Donegal Tourism in Autumn 2020 to help extend the tourism season across the county and further incentivize people to holiday in Donegal off season.”
She concluded by encouraging businesses to avail of the supports available under this scheme and to engage with Donegal County Council through its’ Business Concierge Service at 074 91 72363 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the Local Enterprise Office at 074 91 60735 or email@example.com