Smith urges support for SMEs

Strong State financial supports are being sought for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they emerge from the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Brendan Smith praised existing schemes such as the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), the Employers’ Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Small Business Assistance Scheme (SBAS) but he said more was needed or the eligibility criteria for such schemes need to be reviewed/expanded.

In reference to the SBAS, introduced last month, Deputy Smith explained: “In quarter one, that will allow a maximum payment of €4,000 to companies, the self-employed, sole traders and partnerships. I have raised a number of queries with regard to this particular scheme.

“I am aware of a number of business owners who were deemed ineligible for this new scheme due to having claimed under the CRSS. The amount received was much lower than what they would receive under the SBAS.”

He asked the Minister to look at this again. “Such businesses, which will struggle to remain open in the future, should be allowed to avail of the SBAS. Some of the applicants availing of a very small CRSS payment were not aware of the small businesses assistance scheme when claiming under the other schemes. They are small traders and one-person enterprises. Those are the types of business that populate the main streets in our smaller towns and villages,” argued Deputy Smith.

“I appeal for Government to place a particular emphasis on and give particular assistance to the smaller-scale businesses in order that they can develop an online presence and help in protecting employment,” he concluded.

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