Earlier today the Irish government outlined additional plans to help support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a special Cabinet meeting, a series of measures to further support small, medium, and larger businesses were revealed.
The new initiatives included:
- a €10,000 restart grant for micro and small businesses based on a rates/waiver rebate from 2019
- a three-month commercial rates waiver for impacted businesses
- a €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which will make capital available to medium and large enterprises
- a €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs for terms ranging from 3 months to 6 years, which will be below-market interest rates
- the ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of twelve months after recommencement of trading during which time there will be no debt enforcement action taken by Revenue
- a commitment to local authorities to make up the rates shortfall, so that local authorities can continue to provide full services to the public
Just prior to the government’s announced, Niall Dorrian, Chief Executive of Linked Finance an online lender providing access to capital for Irish SMEs, called on public officials to do more.
“The clock is ticking for Irish SMEs and it’s vital that the Government moves quickly to expand the lending support it can provide. Alongside an expansion of capital guarantees should also be the broadening of the channels through which funds are offered to include lenders like Linked Finance. We have the intimate understanding of, and relationships with, SMEs to ensure that funds are deployed rapidly and to the right place.”
Today, in an additional comment, Dorrian asked the government again to look towards Fintechs to help:
“The SME sector is bleeding losses due to the Covid-19 crisis, so today’s announcement of a significant expansion to the Government’s support for businesses, particularly SMEs is welcome. The level of capital guarantees available have been increased which will help give lenders the confidence to commit capital We also welcome the indication that lenders beyond the traditional pillar banks will get access to the scheme. Alternative providers like Linked Finance have extensive knowledge and strong relationships with thousands of SMEs in Ireland who need help, so we are well place to evaluate credit risk and ensure money goes to the right place. We look forward to engaging with the Government to understand the details of how the scheme will operate.”
The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, commented on the new programs as designed to build confidence, further assist businesses and allow them to start charting a path forward:
“We will continue to seek the best ways of supporting our people, and wider society, and rebuilding our economy so that we can get people back to work safely. We will do this by being cognisant of official public health advice and doing what is in the best interests of all our people.”