July 16, 2020
Sinn Féin publish plan to support SMEs and protect jobs

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has today published Sinn Féin’s proposals to support small and medium-sized enterprises and to protect jobs; at a time of unprecedented challenges for SMEs and the workers they employ.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Investing in SMEs, micro-businesses and family businesses to support workers and families, save jobs and protect communities is a priority for Sinn Féin.

“There are over 220,000 SMEs – employing more than 750,000 people across the State – in highly or moderately affected sectors and losses experienced by many SMEs threaten their very survival.

“Without a recovery of our SMEs, there will be no real recovery.

“We must show a real commitment to our SME sector and to family businesses, as well as a steadfast commitment to workers’ rights and the creation of decent jobs with decent pay and conditions.

“To that end, we have proposed a number of schemes and proposals which if enacted would have a transformative effect in rebooting SMEs suffering because of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Sinn Féin understand that the SME sector needs additional injections of liquidity. That is why we are proposing grants of €12,000 and €25,000 for affected SMEs, as has been done in many other European States.

“We are also calling for a Back to Business Loan Scheme with 90% government backed loans carrying zero interest, with no repayments for the first twelve months and low interest rates thereafter.

“Extending the commercial rates waiver until the end of December, with a review before the end of the year, is a much-needed measure to help reduce non-payroll expenses for affected SMEs.

“To provide a substantial economic stimulus to the tourism and hospitality sectors – who are facing massive challenges – we are proposing tourism and hospitality vouchers of €200 per adult and €100 per child which can be spent in hotels, B&Bs, caravan parks, restaurants, cafés, tourist attractions and theme parks. This will provide a major boost to these sectors.

“But this alone will not help SMEs in the tourism and hospitality sectors. That is why we are proposing that VAT for services in these sectors be reduced from 13.5% to 9% until the end of January 2021; with a built-in review of its effectiveness for that date. Such a measure would allow SMEs and family businesses to either reduce costs to stimulate demand or to use monies saved through a reduction of VAT to invest in their businesses and cover losses accrued due to Covid-19. 

“Furthermore, we are also proposing the extension of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme until the end of the year and for a special fund to support alternative businesses. 

“These measures will require the State to borrow and invest. However, the cost of not investing in SMEs will be far greater and will cost the State far more, economically and socially, through lost jobs and business closures.”

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