The prospect of a successful delivery of the Government’s wide-ranging €6.5bn rescue package for businesses has been branded as “questionable” by one of the country’s largest regional chamber of commerce.
The financial supports – which include a €2bn credit guarantee fund, the writing off of a proportion of commercial rates bills, and a 12-month freeze on tax payments - were broadly welcomed over the weekend by a diverse range of representative bodies including the Small Firms Association, the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Family Business Network, which represents family-run companies.
However, County Kildare Chamber – which represents more than 400 member companies, which in turn employ more than 42,000 people – said delivery of the bulk of the support cannot become a reality until legislation is passed by the next government.
“Business needs certainty and this has not been provided by the present government.
"We find it incredible that the Taoiseach stated that the next government may not be formed until June whilst then announcing two business measures that require legislation,” said chamber CEO Allan Shine.
The warehousing of tax liability for one year and the SME credit guarantee scheme both require legislation.
Mr Shine, who said as much as 18% of the Chamber’s membership may struggle to reopen, called for an SME taskforce to be implemented to drive real change.
“It has now become very clear that government and the political system at large need private sector influence,” he said.
“We do not need access to loans, we do not need endless grants that are not addressing the issues we face.
"We need certainty, we need state-backed accessible grants that are meaningful. We need an SME taskforce to influence change in Kildare Street.
"We are facing the largest deepest recession in our lifetime, we need clear precise and decisive action. We require a functioning government now not hopefully in June.”
Meanwhile, the Irish Hotels Federation has called for a permanent reduction in the tourism Vat rate and waivers on local authority rates and charges.