June 22, 2021
Government should seek out and encourage applications for Small Business Assistance Scheme – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the government and local authorities should be seeking out small businesses and encouraging them to apply to the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC).

The scheme closes next month and data provided to Teachta O’Reilly shows that only 3,079 grants have been applied for to date.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) was established to provide much-needed funding to many businesses who had been excluded from other government schemes such as the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), the Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS), the Fáilte Ireland Business Continuity grant, and other direct sectoral grant schemes.

“The SBASC scheme provided grants of €4,000 to businesses working from non-rateable premises and €1,000 to businesses with a turnover between €20,000 and €49,999. While it was a small scheme, it was much-needed and appreciated by small businesses.

“However, data provided to me by the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment has revealed that only 3,079 grant applications have been made to date.

“Places like Carlow have seen only 35 grants applications, Cavan 31, while businesses in Leitrim saw just 14 grants applied for. 

“Indeed, to date, just over €12 million in grants have been applied for despite the scheme being due to close in less than a month.

“The Department has relayed that not all applications will be approved, so in all likelihood the number of applications which turn into approved grants will be under 3,000, unless the government and local authorities step in now.

“With such a low level of applications, it is clear that the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, the government and local authorities need to seek out and encourage applications from small businesses for the SBASC scheme.

“Given the closing date for the scheme is July 21, the government must work to ensure as many small businesses as possible know about the scheme and submit grant applications.”

The response to Teachta O’Reilly’s Parliamentary Question, which contains a table providing the details of applications for the SBASC scheme on a county-by-county basis, can be read here.

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