Restart Grant for small businesses

The Government has just announced a total package of business supports worth approximately €6.5 billion.  These include:

  • A €10,000 restart grant for micro and small businesses based on a rates/waiver rebate from 2019;
  • A three month commercial rates waiver for impacted businesses;
  • A €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms;
  • A €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs for terms ranging from 3 months to 6 years, which will be below market interest rates;
  • The ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of twelve months after recommencement of trading during which time there will be no debt enforcement action taken by Revenue and no interest charge accruing in respect of the warehoused debt;
  • A commitment to local authorities to make up the rates shortfall, so that local authorities can continue provide full services to the public.

The Restart Grant is the first source of positive liquidity for small businesses – previous measures have focussed on loan facilities to provide working capital – and will come from a Restart Fund of €250 million.  Full details are yet to be announced and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has said:

“The purpose of this fund will be to assist these businesses in reconnecting with the market, their employees and their customers. Details of the scheme will be worked on by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in consultation with the Departments of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Housing, Planning and Local Government and finalised in the coming weeks but it is intended that the fund will operate through a system of rebates/waivers of commercial rates payments from 2019. It is intended that companies will receive a total amount equivalent to no more than their 2019 rates bill and that there will be a cap per business of €10,000. This fund can act as a further targeted support to small and micro enterprises that have been impacted by Covid-19.”

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