June 23, 2020
IBEC echo Sinn Féin calls for scaled up grant scheme and zero interest government-backed SME loans – Pearse Doherty TD

Pearse DohertySinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty has welcomed IBEC’s submission to government on the July stimulus for Small and Medium Enterprises. 

Among IBEC’s policy recommendations are three key submissions, which echo Sinn Féin’s repeated proposals to support the sector: a restart grant including a flat payment of up to €15,000 per company, a credit guarantee loan scheme with an interest and repayment holiday for the first 12 months, and the extension of the commercial rates waiver.

Teachta Doherty said: “As far back as April 13, myself and our party spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Imelda Munster, wrote to Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Heather Humphreys calling for a suite of measures that would allow our SME sector an increased scale of credit and easier access to it. These included:

  • An SME Grant Scheme; similar to that introduced by the Executive and Sinn Féin Finance Minister Conor Murphy where one-off grants of £10,000 and £25,000 were provided to SMEs. 
  • A Back to Business Loan Scheme, with a guarantee to participating finance providers, where SMEs would not be required to make any repayments in the first 12 months with zero interest rates applied.
  • Extending the commercial rates waiver for businesses whose commercial activity continue to be affected by public health measures.

“We reiterated these calls at the start of this month, and today’s submission by IBEC has echoed these specific proposals to help the SME sector get back up and running and, most importantly, to save jobs across the state.

“We call on Ministers Donohoe and Humphreys to take on board the need for these proposals to be implemented as a matter of urgency. 

“Our SMEs are the backbone of our economy. For decades, successive governments have thrown their weight behind big business at the expense of our SME sector.

“Unless that approach changes, jobs will be lost for good as a result of this current crisis. Without the recovery of our SMEs, there will be no economic recovery.”

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