New small business supports must see cash get to viable businesses urgently

02 May 2020
  • Conditions on decent work must be attached to State cash injections

Labour Deputy Ged Nash, responding to the government’s announcement of new supports for the SME sector said:

“The new liquidity support measures for the SME sector announced today sees a reheating and repackaging of some existing schemes and the introduction of some positive changes to others – like the Microfinance Loan scheme – that will see increased loans of up to Euro €50,000 made available to microenterprises on extended and improved terms.

“I am dealing all of the time with issues small businesses are having in accessing the existing Credit Guarantee Scheme. Issues around personal guarantee demands being introduced by the banks are presenting a real problem for business owners who rightly fear being laden down with debt at this uncertain time.

“Supports for our SME sector, the real heroes of our economy who employ 70% of all workers must be able to be accessed quickly, cheaply and without massive bureaucratic burdens.

“This will be the test of the success of these new and in some cases repurposed schemes.

“The suggestion that local authorities will return rates collected from 2019 to local small businesses, capped at Euro €10,000 is an interesting proposition and has some merit. However, it is absolutely critical that central government fills the funding gap this will create for local government.

“Finally, the State should demand as a condition that all companies benefiting from significant taxpayer support should be legally required to engage with the industrial relations machinery of the State.

“As more, and necessary supports are considered over the coming weeks for the badly hit hospitality sector, the hospitality sector employer bodies must be made drop their continued refusal to engage in the existing Joint Labour Committee system and commit to improve the pay and term and conditions of workers in the sector.”

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