A new Employment Wage Support Scheme and extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment into next year will provide much needed certainty to businesses and individuals in Clare, Deputy Joe Carey said this evening.

Speaking after the Government’s July Stimulus package was announced, Deputy Carey said the new €7.4bn suite of measures will help get local businesses back on their feet and get as many people as possible back to work quickly while continuing to manage the impact of Covid-19.

This package which Fine Gael in Government has been working on will:

·         help businesses and create jobs;

·         support all get back to work – especially young people;

·         build confidence and invest in communities;

·         prepare Ireland for a sustainable economy in the future.

Deputy Carey said: “I’m pleased to confirm a new Employment Wage Support Scheme will succeed the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and run until April 2021.

“Employers in Clare whose turnover has fallen 30% will receive a flat-rate subsidy of up to €203 per week per employee, including for seasonal staff and new employees.

“New firms operating in impacted sectors will also be eligible. The scheme will support around 350,000 jobs into the beginning of next year.”

“The restart grant for enterprises will benefit a range of SMEs. It will be expanded by €300m bringing the total funding to €550m. The payment level is being increased to €25,000. Further payments may be available to those firms which have already received them. Other businesses, such as B&Bs across Clare, not previously included in the scheme, will now be eligible.”

Businesses forced to close due to public health requirements will be granted a waiver of commercial rates for the six months to end-September 2020.

Deputy Carey said those without work – especially young people – need as much support as possible.

“The Pandemic Unemployment Payment, due to end in August 2020, is being extended until April 2021. We know that this is extremely helpful to those not working. We have heard that testimony repeatedly. This will provide security for households across Clare as job opportunities return.

“To help restore consumer confidence and support retailers and businesses across Clare, there will be a six-month reduction in the standard rate of VAT from 23pc to 21pc, from the beginning of September.

“Our tourism sector has been crippled by Covid-19. A new Stay and Spend incentive will allow any taxpayer who pays over €625 on accommodation, food and non-alcoholic drinks, between October and April 2021, claim back up to €125 through a tax credit.

“Housing is a priority for this Government and further levels of support under the Help to Buy Scheme at cost of €18m will be made available.

“Until the end of this year, buyers will be able to reclaim up to 10pc, or a maximum of €30,000 of the price of a new build, up from 5pc or €20,000 previously.

“A further €500m will be used in capital expenditure nationwide for works to: schools, transport infrastructure, heritage, arts, tourism and Gaeltacht related projects, peatlands rehabilitation, a national retrofit programme, town and village renewal, fishery and on-farm renewable energy investments. Further details on these will be forthcoming.”

Deputy Carey added: “With a strong focus on investing in training and skills development, 19,000 places on the Government’s Skills to Compete programme will equip people for emerging growth sectors and occupations.

“Businesses will be supported to adapt to the green economy, with €10m set aside for engaging in green research, development and innovation, capital investment, and capacity building, through the first phase of a new Green Enterprise Fund.

 “Today’s package also contains a €20m Brexit fund to help SMEs involved in exporting and importing with the UK and further afield to equip themselves for new customs arrangements from next January.

Deputy Carey acknowledged the pandemic has had “an enormous impact” on communities, businesses, families and individuals across Clare.

“Our absolute aim and priority is the wellbeing of every person and community in Clare,” the Clarecastle-based TD said.

“Since March, unprecedented levels of support have already been deployed to help businesses and our people, including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Restart Grant, Rates Waivers, and credit schemes for businesses of all sizes. Fine Gael has not been found wanting in any respect and the work to help all continues.

“Prior to the July Stimulus Package, business and employment support measures came to a total of €14.6bn.

“Thanks to the efforts of the Irish people, large parts of the economy in Clare are now safely re-opened.

“However, some parts remain closed, while many open businesses are severely impacted by reduced demand, as well as social distancing and public health requirements.

“Now is the right time to start on the path to a jobs-led sustainable recovery. The July Stimulus of over €7 billion will build economic confidence, within public health constraints, and deliver immediate effective supports to get people back to work, Deputy Carey concluded.