Government urged to change the qualifying criteria of the Covid Restriction Support Scheme
Donegal TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on finance, Pearse Doherty, has urged the Government to support a Sinn Féin amendment which will be voted on in the Dáil.
The amendment calls on the Government to change the qualifying criteria of the Covid Restriction Support Scheme to ensure that affected businesses such as suppliers are no longer excluded from the scheme.
Thousands of businesses in Donegal have been denied access to the Scheme despite having seen their turnover reduced by more than 75 percent, on the grounds that they are not public facing or do not have fixed premises.
At the same time, the Government’s Covid-19 Business Aid Scheme has still not been rolled out or its guidelines even published, despite having been announced more than two weeks ago.
Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said: “Today the Dáil will vote on a Sinn Féin amendment to a Government motion concerning the Covid Restriction Support Scheme, or CRSS.
“This amendment calls on the Government to change the qualifying criteria for CRSS, which exclude thousands of businesses that have been directly impacted by Level 5 restrictions.
“To qualify for the scheme at present, a business must have a fixed premises and be able to demonstrate that customers are no longer able to access the premises as a result of Covid restrictions.
“As a result, these rigid and narrow criteria lock out tens of thousands of hard-pressed businesses in Donegal; including suppliers, event management companies, taxi drivers, the outdoor activity industry, businesses without a fixed premises, and many others.
“These businesses continue to struggle with non-payroll expenses and fixed costs.
“Support for these vulnerable businesses is essential so they are in a position to survive this crisis period and to support their post-crisis recovery.
“This amendment calls on the Government to change the eligibility criteria and ensure these businesses, who have been severely impacted by restrictions, qualify for the CRSS Scheme," said the deputy.
He claimed the Minister for Finance and the Tánaiste have dithered on this issue for months.
“The Covid-19 Business Aid Scheme, or CBAS, which is supposed to provide support to businesses excluded from CRSS, is still not active. Indeed, the Guidelines haven’t even been published.
“Struggling small businesses can no longer afford delay from the Tánaiste.
“Sinn Féin calls on all parties in the Dáil to support our amendment to expand CRSS to currently excluded businesses, and inject some urgency into this issue,” he said.
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