Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Government for not expanding the criteria of Covid Restrictions Support Scheme for excluded businesses.
Teachta Doherty has spoken out today to say the scheme was underspent, with less than a quarter of the expected cost of the Scheme claimed since it opened on 13thOctober. Wider eligibility would help more struggling business, he said, without costing the taxpayer anymore than had been anticipated when it was introduced.
“Since it began on 13th October, claims worth a combined €221.5 million have been claimed by businesses under the Covid Restriction Support Scheme, averaging less than €15 million per week,” Deputy Doherty said.
“The Scheme had been expected to cost €80 million per week.
“When first brought forward in legislation, Sinn Féin argued that the Scheme should include all businesses that had seen their turnover fall by 75 percent or more.
“Under the current scheme, only businesses with fixed premises and reduced footfall as a result of restrictions qualify.
“This excludes thousands of suppliers and businesses without fixed premises who have suffered as a result of restrictions.
“The scheme has cost less than a quarter of what had been projected.”
Deputy Doherty stated that expanding the Scheme to suppliers and other SMEs would not only protect jobs and support businesses, it would cost no more than the original projected cost of the Scheme.
“Given this is the case, the refusal from Government to expand this Scheme makes little economic sense,” he added.
“It only starves small businesses of much needed support.”