Call for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme to be expanded
Donegal TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty, has slammed the Government’s refusal to expand the criteria of Covid Restrictions Support Scheme for excluded businesses.
Teachta Doherty said less than a quarter of the expected cost of the scheme had been claimed since it opened on October 13, with wider eligibility helping more struggling business without costing the taxpayer anymore than had been anticipated when it was introduced.
“Since it began on October 13, claims worth a combined €221.5 million have been claimed by businesses under the Covid Restriction Support Scheme, averaging less than €15 million per week. The scheme had been expected to cost €80 million per week.
“When first brought forward in legislation, Sinn Féin argued that the scheme should include all businesses that had seen their turnover fall by 75% or more.
“Under the current scheme, only businesses with fixed premises and reduced footfall as a result of restrictions qualify. This excludes thousands of suppliers and businesses without fixed premises who have suffered as a result of restrictions.
The scheme has cost less than a quarter of what had been projected."
He added: “Expanding the scheme to suppliers and other SMEs would not only protect jobs and support businesses, it would cost no more than the original projected cost of the Scheme.
“Given this is the case, the refusal from Government to expand this scheme makes little economic sense. It only starves small businesses of much needed support,” he added.
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