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Government Restart Grants Announced (Only If You Pay Rates Though)

We’ll take any good news at this stage. The Government’s restart grants programme has been unveiled, which is good but needless to say there are strings attached.

Only those paying rates will qualify, a welcome boost for those paying local authority charges, but it means if you’re not, you don’t qualify.

To avail of the grant, a business must be in the Local Authorities Commercial Rates Payment System and:  

  1. have an annual turnover of less than €5m and employ between 1 to 50 people;
  2. have closed and/or suffered a projected 25%+ loss in turnover to end June 2020;  
  3. commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed;
  4. declare the intention to retaining employees that are on The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and to reemploy staff on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable.

The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.

The Government today agreed details of the new €250m scheme which will give direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures.

The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.

Commenting on the announcement Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said:

“The Restart Grant is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.

“Small businesses, whether it the local hairdresser, café or clothes shop, are absolutely vital to the social fabric of our towns and villages throughout the country. These businesses have made huge sacrifices to protect their employees and customers during COVID-19 and we want to help them get back up and running so that they can return to viability and contribute to the national economic recovery.

“These are small grants but they can make a big difference in terms of giving businesses an extra helping hand to open their doors again.”

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said:

“The Restart Grant, in addition to the other supports which enterprises can access, will support micro and small enterprises, helping them to reconnect with the market and assist them in getting their businesses back up and trading. The Grant will act as further assistance in defraying ongoing fixed costs and meeting costs associated with businesses reopening. In doing so it will support activity and employment across the country.”

Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, said:

This support, when linked with other supports put in place, including the 3 month waiver of commercial rates for businesses forced to close, will help small and micro enterprises re-starting their operations and contribute to maintaining employment and economic activity.”

Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to local authorities from Friday 22nd May.

Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap.

While welcome news, there is still a fair bit of heavy lifting needed to get the economy back on track.