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Government’s #JulyStimulus package-whats in it for you?

There has been a lot of talk about government measures to kickstart Ireland’s recovery following the coronavirus lockdown and the blueprint called the ‘July Stimulus’ has been finally revealed.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be copperfastened and thousands more created in a bid to get the country back on track after the devastation of recent months, according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

The measures were detailed at government buildings with much talk about backing business.

The various sectors will pore over the detail now but in a nutshell here’s what we are looking at.

#JulyStimulus broken down

A new Employment Wage Support Scheme will succeed the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and run until April 2021.

Employers, whose turnover has fallen 30%, will receive a flat-rate subsidy of up to €203 per week per employee, including for seasonal staff and new employees.

New firms operating in impacted sectors will also be eligible.

The government says the scheme is expected to support around 350,000 jobs into the beginning of 2021.

The Restart Grant for Enterprises is being extended to a broader base of SMEs and expanded by €300 million, bringing the total funding of the Restart Grant to €550 million.

The payment level is being increased to €25,000. Further payments may be available to firms which have already received them.

Some businesses, such as B&Bs, not previously included in the scheme, will now be eligible.

With limited exceptions, all businesses will be granted a waiver of commercial rates for the six months to end-September 2020, at a total cost of €600 million.

The €2 billion Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, will see Government provide an 80% guarantee for a wide range of credit products from €10,000 to €1 million up to a maximum term of 6 years.

A package of liquidity and enterprise investment measures worth €55 million will be put in place to support small and micro companies through additional resources for MicroFinance Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. This will include measures to reduce interest rates on lending for micro and small businesses, including grants equivalent to 0% interest on the first year of SBCI and MFI loans.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme is being expanded from €200 million to €500 million with the European Investment Bank Group, so businesses with up to 499 employees can invest for the longer-term at competitive rates.Support People without jobs, especially young people

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment, due to end in August 2020, is being extended by 7 months until 1 April 2021, giving those on emergency income support greater security as the country recovers and job opportunities return.

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme have played a huge role in sustaining household incomes through the worst of the crisis.

Between now and April, there will be a gradual reduction in payment level, linked to previous incomes, bringing payments in line with existing social welfare levels over time. The scheme will close to new claimants from 17 September 2020.

A €200 million investment in training and education, skills development, work placement schemes, recruitment subsidies, and job search and assistance measures, will help those who have lost their jobs find a new one, retrain, or develop new skills, in particular for emerging growth sectors. This will include:

  • 10,000 additional places on work placement and experience schemes available for those unemployed for over 6 months.
  • 12,500 additional places funded through the Training Support Grant for short term skills training.
  • 35,000 additional places in further and higher education. These will be delivered through a variety of measures including Skills to Compete Initiative (SOLAS), Skillnet, Springboard+ and the Human Capital Initiative, as well as through additional undergraduate and postgraduate provision in the Higher Educational Institutions.

The Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme will provide a €2,000 payment to support employers to take on new apprenticeships in 2020.

A Retrofit Skills Training Initiative will support future expansion of the National Retrofitting Programme.

8,000 recruitment subsidies under the JobsPlus scheme. Subsidies of up to €7,500 over two years will be available for employers to hire someone under the age of 30 who is on the Live Register or the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The capacity of the Public Employment Service will be increased to support jobseekers through job search advice and assistance, including through contracted services such as JobClubs, JobPath and Local Employment Services.

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance and Back to Education Allowance will be extended to people currently in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

3,000 additional places will be funded on State Employment schemes such as Community Employment and Tús.

The government says the new Employment Wage Support Scheme and the seven-month extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will provide much needed certainty to businesses and individuals in the coming months.

In addition, to support the badly impacted hospitality and tourism sectors a new Stay and Spend Incentive will see any taxpayer spending over €625, on accommodation, food and non- alcoholic drinks, between October 2020 and April 2021, able to claim back up to €125 through a tax credit.

A €10 million Restart Fund for the Tourism sector is also being introduced, along with a €10 million pilot Performance Support Scheme for the culture sector to assist planning for events in the context of Covid-19.

To provide immediate cash-flow support to previously profitable companies, the early carry- back of trading losses will be allowed, leading to an immediate refund of some or all of corporation tax paid.

There will be a new income tax relief for self-employed individuals who were profitable in 2019 but, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, incur losses in 2020.

There will be a 6-month reduction in the standard rate of VAT from 23% to 21%, effective from the beginning of September, at a cost of €440 million.

Enhanced levels of support will be made available under Help to Buy scheme until December 2020 at a cost of €18 million.

The Government will also pass legislation to confirm the previously announced warehousing of tax liabilities.

This will allow for businesses affected by Covid-19 to delay payment of their PAYE and VAT debts in part of in full for a set period with no interest or penalties.

In order to provide support to taxpayers experiencing difficulty with tax liabilities, the interest rate applying to agreed repayments of all tax debt (where agreement has been reached prior to 30 September 2020) will be reduced to 3%.

An increased allowable expenditure under the ‘Cycle To Work Scheme’ from €1,000 to €1,500 in respect of ‘ebikes’ and €1,250 in respect of other bicycles will be introduced.

A further €500 million will be provided to accelerate capital works across a wide range of areas. This will generate jobs economic activity across all regions of the country. It includes:

€75 million for minor works for primary and secondary schools

€113 million for active travel, public transport and renewal of transport infrastructure

Over €40 million for investments in a range of heritage, arts, tourism and Gaeltacht- related projects

€20 million investment in courts, prisons and Garda projects, and €10 million in fishery and on-farm renewable energy investments

€15 million in peatlands rehabilitation

€100 million investment in the Energy Efficiency National Retrofit Programme

€60 million for returning vacant local authority housing to use and investment in water infrastructure

€10 million for town and village renewal

In line with the Governments’ commitments in the New Decade New Approach agreement, support will be provided to progress work on the harbour at Clones on the Ulster Canal, and for planning of the Sligo-Enniskillen Greenway.

The Government is also committing to increasing capital expenditure in 2021 to €9.1 billion. This level of capital expenditure represents an increase of almost €1 billion or 12% on 2020 levels.

The Government is also taking steps to prepare the economy for the challenges and opportunities of that the future will bring, including through:

A €25 million investment in the Covid Life Sciences Products Scheme to aid the research, development and production of medicinal products in Ireland that are used in the fight against Covid -19.

As part of the substantial investment in training and skills development, 19,000 places on the Government’s Skills to Compete programme will be provided which supports people develop skills and attain qualifications for emerging growth sectors and occupations.

To help businesses adapt to the green economy, €10 million will be provided to support businesses engaging in green research, development and innovation, capital investment, and capacity building, through the first phase of a new Green Enterprise Fund.

An increase of €10 million in funding for the Seed and Venture Capital sector through Enterprise Ireland as a top-up to existing funds and leveraging a combined additional pool of investment of €55 million, as part of our commitment to innovation driven enterprises.

€10 million to support IDA promotional and marketing initiatives targeting job-rich FDI projects that will be an essential part of our economic recovery.

Businesses will also be supported to develop their online presence through a further funding call of the Online Retail Scheme of €5.5 million through Enterprise Ireland and an expansion of the Online Trading Voucher Scheme from the Local Enterprise Offices of €20 million.

A €20 million Brexit fund to help SMEs involved in exporting and importing with the UK and further afield to put in place the staff, software and IT systems to be ready for new customs arrangements from 1 January 2021.

The expansion of the Enterprise Ireland €180 million Sustaining Enterprise Fund scheme to include direct grant support to viable businesses, in addition to equity and repayable advances.

Full details available here

So they are the basics. How will they effect you? The government claims the total value of the measures is 14.6 billion euro. Will it be enough though?🤔