Micheál Martin: Stimulus package will lift both communities and businesses

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the virus has resulted in the "most rapid recession" ever.
Micheál Martin: Stimulus package will lift both communities and businesses

Mr Martin said coronavirus has resulted in the "most rapid recession" ever. Photo: Julien Behal Photography.

The coalition's €7bn Covid-19 stimulus package is designed to ensure the recovery from the crisis helps lift both communities and businesses, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

Announcing the €7.4bn package, he said there are 50 measures across sectors that would help not only to keep people in jobs but also create employment in all parts of the country.

For those who cannot get jobs, funds and schemes will be made available to support up to 75,000 people.

Mr Martin said the virus has resulted in the "most rapid recession" ever.

Measures announced include a temporary reduction in the standard rate of VAT from 23% to 21% over six months. Emergency pandemic payments, both for wages and the unemployed, will continue until April next year. But the latter will be phased down in steps.

There will also be €500m invested in communities, including in works for schools, retrofitting projects as well as the arts and tourism sectors. A lot of this will support construction projects.

Loans and grants for businesses will also be ramped up. Restart grants totalling €250m will see amounts increased from €10,000 to €25,000 and can also be accessed by wider groups, including charities and sports groups.

There will also be funds to prepare for Brexit, to boost life sciences, while businesses will get a further six month holiday with rate payments.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar outlined how another €300m in grants is being made available for businesses.

A special 'stay and spend scheme' will allow consumers to get tax rebates of 20% on spends in the hospitality sector, capped at spending of €625 per person. This can be used in the traditional off-season, between October and April.

There will also be further incentives in the help-to-buy scheme, the cycle to work scheme as well as more investment in schools, walking, cycling, public transport and town/village renewal projects.

As already announced, there will be a €2bn Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme.

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