May 22, 2020
Lack of Government support for small businesses is risking high unemployment for years to come – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has called on Government to increase direct financial support for the SME sector, warning that the low level of support given to SMEs risks the permanent loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

Deputy Doherty repeated his call for a more ambitious recovery package for SMEs; including direct grants, an extension of the commercial rates break and zero-interest loans.

Teachta Doherty said:

“Under the Restart Grant which opened today, only businesses with rateable premises can apply, with grants worth only the commercial rates they had paid in 2019.

“For so many businesses, this falls far short of the support they need to survive this crisis and reopen.

“I wrote to the Minister for Finance and Minister for Business Enterprise & Innovation on May 13th calling on further supports to be rolled out for small businesses through direct grants, an extension of the commercial rates break and zero interest loans.

“As ISME, IBEC and others have noted, this Government is lagging far behind other European countries in its financial support package for SMEs.

“Take up in its loan schemes has been extremely low while the grants provided in today’s Restart Fund are too small. The Government has been slow to act and done too little to support small businesses.

“The consequences of their inaction could be severe, with tens of thousands of jobs permanently lost.

“Fine Gael has done little to support our SMEs in their 9 years in power. Their refusal to provide adequate financial supports to the SME sector now risks their very survival.”

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