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Businesses unhappy with Covid plan and seek supports

Business group Ibec has called for an increase in financial supports for business in the worst impacted sectors of the economy. 

In a statement this evening, it said current fixed amount grants are proportionately lower for mid-sized and larger employers that continue to face fixed costs. 

The Licensed Vintners’ Association said it was “disappointed” in today’s revised Living with Covid plan.

It said it was hoping for details about what levels of vaccination or rate of transmissions might facilitate future re-openings in parts of the economy.

It also stated that the extended income and business supports are not sufficient. 

It is seeking a doubling of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), an extension of the Emploument Wage Subsidy Scheme and the waiver on commercial rates to continue until the end of the year. 

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, which represents publicans outside Dublin, said the lack of any detailed plan for how the pub sector will reopen is a major flaw in plan.

It said this will prolong the anxiety and uncertainty for over 7,000 publicans.

Hoteliers also called on the Government to “step up to the mark” to help those who will have to remain closed.

“Government supports to date have been very welcome and have made a difference for hotels and guesthouses,” said Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation.

“However, these supports are wholly inadequate in the face of an extended lockdown and the prospect that the all-important summer period will be eroded.”

“Additional supports are required urgently to help tourism and hospitality businesses survive until society reopens and the sector can restore the livelihoods of their teams.” 

Also disappointed was the Construction Industry Federation which criticised the Government’s decision to extend its lockdown of parts of the construction sector. 

It claimed HSE monitoring of the industry has consistently shown negligible levels of Covid-19 cases associated with the building work.

The Restaurants’ Association of Ireland, said 150,000 hospitality workers needed “…certainty regarding their jobs and when they can return to work.”

It also expressed “extreme disappointment” in today’s revised plan and said the extension of existing supports “do not go far enough”

It added that it was “unacceptable” that no information was given on the metrics to determine reopening dates for restaurants and hospitality. 

Chambers Ireland criticised the three month extension of the Government supports for business, claiming it is not long enough.

“The extension of existing financial supports is good news, as it reduces some of the uncertainty for businesses,” said Ian Talbot, chief executive of Chambers Ireland.

“Yet, right across our Network, there is the very real concern that Government is still failing to engage with the reality of the situation facing our local economies.”

He added that wage supports, commercial rates waivers and debt warehousing will be needed for most of 2021. 

“While the announcements this evening are welcome, the business community fears we will be back in this position again in a few short months, seeking clarity on further extensions,” he claimed.

He said many business owners are losing faith in the Government response and this could lead to an eroding of the adherence to the public health protocols.

However, Retail Ireland welcomed the extension of business supports until the end of June.

But it warned that the ongoing Level 5 restrictions will inevitably put vulnerable businesses at risk.
 
“It is vital that the full range of business supports are kept in place for as long as needed,” said Arnold Dillon, Retail Ireland director.

“Even when restrictions are eased, it will take a long time for many retailers to recover.”

– additional reporting Will Goodbody

Article Source – Businesses unhappy with Covid plan and seek supports – RTE – Robert Shortt

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