Accountability following updated Living with Covid plan
This evening we will receive an updated Living with Covid Plan from Government to which Ibec will react. Leaks in the communication and coordination around the plan in the last week has lacked consideration for those impacted, whether they be severely struggling business owners, the restrictions-induced unemployed, or families curtailed for weeks.
With resolve, we can turn another page as a business community. We can set out how best to communicate to our stakeholders to achieve sustainable outcomes from the crisis but first we must use this phase of the pandemic to focus on the priorities of Government accountability in the three key areas of business continuity, healthcare and society.
For business continuity:
- Given the prolonging of restrictions we need Government to substantially scale business liquidity and cashflow supports for severely impacted sectors, particularly within the experience economy. Such supports are vital to address the fixed costs for mid-sized and larger employers, as current fixed-amount grants are lower proportionately for them.
- Coupled with this short-term intervention, Government must build a model of support for business post reopening in order to jump start business.
- A risk-based approach to the roadmap is also required, whereby Government continuously reviews safe reopening opportunities for different types of business.
- We need much greater targeted Government investment in the resourcing and management of Covid particularly in local public health capacity.
- We need accountability in relation to antigen testing, track and trace and strategies for local containment measures, as well as committing the best talent and structures to deliver vaccinations effectively.
- A strong social capital investment programme to mitigate against the long-term social scarring from the crisis and the corrosive trends this could bring about. We need to prioritise young people and alleviate pressure on families by reopening schools and ensuring the next generation are engaged, resilient and are given hope for the future.
As we watch the pace of vaccine rollout, we compare ourselves to others and strive for effectiveness. Whilst supply is determining the vaccination rollout, it would be wrong to believe that Ireland going it alone on procurement would be a precedent that would benefit a small trading nation.
Please let me know if you have any comments or queries, it’s always good to hear from you.