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‘Retailers And Small Business Need Help’ Says Industry Chief, 200,000 job losses loom this week

Adults who have lived through the global financial crisis of 2008 thought they had seen it all but it’s clear the corona virus pandemic is something never before experienced in a generation.

From the collapse of economic activity to the danger to human life what many people can’t get their heads around is how quickly we got here.

However a big question for everyone is what does the future look like in terms of their careers or business.

The CEO of Retail Ireland David Fitzsimons made a good argument for Ireland’s retailers when it comes to putting measures in place to help with a much needed recovery.

However its not a pretty picture currently to put it mildly.

It’s dire. Over 140,000 people losing their jobs in the past few days, we will add another 200,000 this week as non essential retail shuts down.

Retail Ireland CEO David Fitzsimons speaking on RTE RADIO 1’s Morning Ireland.

The retail chief shared his views on next steps and in short he wants action now to see the shut down of non essential business as he battles his own health issues.

‘There are three things we need to now do.’ According to the industry chief.

  1. A common sense plan. We need a decree to suspend all non essential commerce on the grounds of public health and safety.
  2. Budget for essential retail. Pharmacy and food. Give them 5 to 10k per week to allow them stay open and put in protective measures. Perspex glass, distancing protocols. They might need the gardai or army present to ensure the public are responsible when they interacting with them when they get their foot and pharmacy,
  3. The pause phase. Business needs to cease all payments rent, rates. When we come back and open our doors there can be no legacy bills. No mortgage. No rent. Adequate social welfare support thats to support business today.’ he told RTE Radio 1’s Rachel English on Morning Ireland.

Mr. Fitzsimons is also recommending that the government begins the steps to plan for a recovery phase now.

‘Under this proposal one part of the government would become the Covid response unit and another group would become an economic recovery team to start planning the budget of all budgets for 6-8 weeks time.

No VAT for a year no rates for a year. A business boost grant for every business in the country. Up to 70,000k per store just to boost the economy again.’ he argued.

Finance minister Paschal O’ Donoghue told the nation on the same programme that he believes the government is doing enough.

‘We have introduced the pandemic support payment and we have made a significant announcement on tax payments indicating how they can be phased in the coming weeks.’

The finance minister wouldn’t be drawn on what other measures might be in store down the line or if pausing of charges such as rates, or VAT are in the offing as is the case in France.

”We have seen a fundamental collapse in demand and this has huge consequences for many citizens. When we get to the point that the public health guidance changes in relation to covid-19, We as a government are already planning for what we can do to make the recovery as sharp, as quick and as inclusive as possible.’

Mr. O Donoghue did acknowledge the strain citizens and businesses are under and indicated that discussions are underway with banks and financial institutions on the issue of loan and mortgage repayments.

Watch this space.