Check Against Delivery
Dublin Castle, Thursday 23 July 2020
We’re announcing today a substantial financial package to stimulate our economy, it’s worth more than €5 billion, with an additional €2 billion in loan guarantees.
It is bigger in scale than most budgets and will be deployed at speed.
It is designed to help businesses to open, to help those that are already open to stay open, to get staff back to work and for those who cannot go back to their old jobs, there are new opportunities.
We’ve already pumped billions of euro into the economy, through wage subsidies, the PUP, cash for businesses, low cost loans and commercial rates waivers.
We know these actions have made a difference.
We’ve made enormous progress on supressing the virus, and significant progress too on restarting our economy.
Repairing the damage wrought on the economy – and keeping the virus contained – is vital for the wellbeing of our people.
We will do this by:
- supporting viable businesses and jobs, including new hires, through the extended wage subsidy scheme, which run until the end of March, will be open to firms that don’t currently participate and open to workers like seasonal workers who weren’t previously included
- giving companies extra assistance to reopen and stay open through an enhanced Restart grant available to more firms and more generous
- providing more and cheaper loan finance
- funding to help businesses and get ready for Brexit
- exploiting opportunities in areas like Life Sciences and investing in decarbonisation and digitalisation
- a six month reduction in the VAT, going down from 23% to 21%
- More funding for the IDA to promote Ireland as a place for foreign direct investment
- There will be a six month commercial rates holiday for the vast majority of businesses
A Restart Grant was announced at the peak of the crisis to help small businesses badly hit by pandemic.
It has proven extremely popular – more than 40,000 businesses have already applied.
I know from my conversations with businesspeople that a direct cash injection can make a huge difference when they are trying to reopen and rehire staff.
So, we have significantly enhanced our offering.
A further €300 million in grants will be provided to small and medium businesses, bringing the total to €550 million.
The new grant will be open to more businesses and the maximum amount available will increase to from €10,000 to €25,000, with the minimum from €2,000 to €4,000. This will be of particular benefit to small business in Rural Ireland where annual rates bills are lower.
Businesses that have already accessed the Restart Grant will be eligible to apply for a top up payment and we are expanding the scheme to firms which employ 250 employees or less, that’s up from 50 at the moment.
We are extending it to a small number of businesses that weren;t eligible in the past - B&Bs, charity shops and rateable sports businesses will now be eligible for a grant payment of €4,000.
As well as grants, we know that businesses need access to low cost loans, particularly those that may be extending in the years ahead.
We want to give businesses greater certainty by providing access to affordable finance.
This week in the Dail we introduced the Credit Guarantee Amendment Bill in the Dáil, which will establish a €2bn low cost loan fund.
It is already the biggest credit guarantee scheme in the history of the State.
And while all of this money might not be drawn down, it will be available to businesses that need it.
My message to business people and their employees is that we want to help you get through this.
Together we can return to prosperity and growth.
I have highlighted just some of the actions in today’s plan, which will be followed in October by the National Economic Plan, our longer term economic roadmap.
Before I conclude, I would like to pay tribute to the businesspeople of Ireland.
Throughout this pandemic you have shown remarkable grit, determination and adaptability in the face of unprecedented challenges.
You have changed your business models, refitted your premises, retrained your staff and come up with new and innovate ways to serve us – your customers – and keep everyone safe.
To the people who are still out of work – I know many of you are feeling anxious about the future.
Today’s stimulus package for our economy will give you a path back to your old job, or to a new one.
A job provides much more than an income; it provides a sense of purpose and self-worth and wellbeing.
Today this new Government is backing businesses and workers.
We’ll get through this pandemic together and we can get out of this economic crisis together too.