Government must launch details of Covid-19 Business Aid Scheme

February 24, 2021

The Small Firms Association (SFA) is calling on Government to launch details of its Covid-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) before small businesses ineligible for other Covid business supports are forced to close and jobs are lost.

Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director of the Small Firms Association said: “15 days ago the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment announced a new €60 million Scheme for firms who have been left out of Covid-19 business supports. Hundreds of small business owners in the supply chain have suffered severe falls in revenue and sales because of the crisis but have not been allowed access the same relief as non-essential retail, tourism, and hospitality businesses. These firms are suffering just as equally and need to see CBAS rolled out in the next few weeks or else they will be forced to close. Disappointingly, last night’s ‘Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery - The Path Ahead’ plan provided no clarity for these orphaned small businesses.

“Public health measures remain the absolute imperative. Small firms and entrepreneurs are clear that the reopening and recovery of our economy depends on a successful vaccine programme, continued access to Covid business supports and the right safety measures within business. Small firms welcome the extension until the end of June of key economic measures, announced yesterday. These will go a long way to ensure eligible businesses do not go under and jobs are saved.

“Covid restrictions have impacted the mental health and wellbeing of employers and employees in small firms. SFA is working with members to deal with concerns about their own and employees health and wellbeing. However, Ireland’s small business community needs greater access to initiatives and services in this area. We would like to see some of the additional mental health services funding announced under ‘Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery - The Path Ahead’ be directed towards Local Enterprise Offices to provide resources and guidance on mental health and wellbeing for small business owners and their teams.

“As we move out of the immediate crisis and into recovery, we would like to see a commitment from Government for a long-term support strategy to move Ireland’s small business community out from under unsustainable Covid debt. We welcome the consultation on proposed ‘Summary Rescue Process’ and see it as a first step towards mitigating the long-term impact of Covid-19 for our smallest employers. Furthermore, we press for the fast and effective delivery of the SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Plan to facilitate digital adoption, investment and upskilling within small firms,” concluded Spollen-Behrens.