Coronavirus: Oireachtas committee to hear small businesses need €15bn bailout

The Covid-19 committee will tomorrow hear from representatives of SMEs, the tourism and hospitality sector and those from the arts.
Coronavirus: Oireachtas committee to hear small businesses need €15bn bailout

Small businesses are "dying" and need a €15bn bailout, an Oireachtas committee will hear.

The Covid-19 committee will tomorrow hear from representatives of SMEs, the tourism and hospitality sector and those from the arts.

John Moran, the chair of SME Recovery Ireland will tell the committee that the government's €6bn programme has failed and a further investment of €15bn along with €6bn in liquidity is needed to ensure businesses survive.

Mr Moran's statement says:

"If we were to leave you with one message today - it is that SMEs across Ireland are dying, need a bailout of some €15bn including immediate injection of large-scale liquidity support worth €6bn to survive the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the existing schemes must be restructured as grant aid not debt which the firms are afraid to take on.

"We cannot be afraid to spend this money. Unlike the last crisis, this time we can spread out the pain as we have the ability to borrow it if we do not waste that borrowing space on less valuable choices."

"Small businesses breadth oxygen into our local communities, not just in the employment they provide but also the support they provide for local initiatives. It is they who sponsor the local GAA teams, buy tables at the local charity’s fund raiser, who use local suppliers for their needs.

"Our small businesses closed to protect our collective National Public Health. In a similar spirit of solidarity, we must stand with them now to help them recover for our collective benefit."

Tourism, meanwhile will only recover to 2019 levels by 2025 with the right state supports, Tim Fenn of the Irish Hotels Federation will tell the committee. Without the supports, the industry would be worth €2bn less.

"With the right Government supports, we project that annual tourism revenues and employment can recover to 2019 levels over a five-year period up to 2025. (€7.7bn tourism revenue and 270,000 people employed).

"Without appropriate supports, we see 2025 tourism revenue at €5.4bn and employment returning to just 190,000 (-30%). Over a 5-year period this would represent a cumulative additional loss of approximately €7bn to the Irish economy and additional cumulative unemployment costs of €3.3bn."

The IHF will tell the committee that the two-metre guidance on social distancing will see hotels take in 30% less revenue.

Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland will tell the committee that restaurants also need supports, with the price of not supporting the sector being around €2.8bn.

Padraig Cribben of the Vintners Federation of Ireland will call for the extension of both the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and relief on commercial rates as well as tax relief on on-trade sales and excise.

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