May 9, 2024
Louise O’Reilly TD calls for government to reopen ICOB Scheme

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, said she has written to the Minister for Enterprise and asked that the Increased Cost of Business Scheme be reopened given only half of qualifying business had applied.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Since its announcement, the Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) scheme has been beset by delays, confusion, and incompetence.

“The announcement, establishment, and rollout of the scheme picked up where the failed Temporary Business Energy Support (TBESS) Scheme left off.

“The nature of the scheme, qualifying criteria, and grant rate changed on a number of occasions since budget day last October.

“It is little wonder that businesses are confused and that registration for the ICOB grant is so low – as of 30th April, the penultimate day for registration, only 49.94% of qualifying businesses had applied.

“For weeks now Sinn Féin has been calling for the deadline for registrations to be extended, and that government and local authorities engage in a comprehensive communications strategy aimed at the SME community to encourage take-up.

“Unfortunately, this has not been done and ICOB has become another failed government support scheme, like the TBESS scheme where, due to government incompetence, the scheme only expended 12% of its €1.3 billion budget.

“As it stands, hundreds of millions in business supports under ICOB will be returned to the exchequer unless the Minister does the right thing and reopens the scheme.

“I have written to the Minister for Enterprise, Peter Burke TD, and sought that the ICOB scheme be reopened and extended to ensure it can support all qualifying and hard-pressed rate payers.”

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