Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Imelda Munster TD has called on the government to do more to help small businesses in crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deputy Munster has said that the government’s supports essentially amount to offering loans with interest rates of between 4% and 7.8% and an additional 0.5% premium due to the state guarantee, at a time when many small businesses have lost much, if not all of their business almost overnight due to the restrictions in place as a result of the Corona virus. The interest rates for loans offered for micro-businesses from MicroFinance Ireland is between 6.8% and 7.8%, which represents too large a burden for many small businesses at this time.
The Louth TD said;
“This is not going to help most small businesses to shield themselves from the worst of this crisis.
“What we need from government is an interest free loan scheme with a moratorium on repayments for six months.
“We also need small businesses to have access to interest-free overdrafts immediately. I would like the see the government force the banks to ensure that this measure is introduced immediately.
“Some businesses will bounce back after this crisis is over, but for others it will be a long and hard road to recover from this unprecedented economic shock.
“I would have hoped that the government would have learned from its recent mistakes around Brexit loans, which many businesses found unworkable, and frankly useless to them in a time of economic uncertainty.
“The government must offer fair play to small businesses, particularly those most vulnerable in the longer term as a result of this crisis and offer them interest free loans to allow them the breathing space to recover from the hit they have taken. Small business is at the heart of our economy and our communities. The government needs to work harder to protect it.”