Sole traders impacted by Covid-19 can now apply for €1k grant

Sole traders impacted by Covid-19 can now apply for €1k grant

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphries, file photo

Sole traders left out of work by Covid-19 can now apply for up to a €1,000 grant from social welfare office to help with business costs.

€12m has been set aside for the Enterprise Support Grant, aimed at tradespeople, taxi drivers and others who can't get the restart grant.

To qualify, a business owner must have come off the Pandemic Unemployment Payment after May 17 - when then national lockdown was first eased.

"The funding is now available for people to make this application," explained Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.

"You go onto the Department of Social Protection website, you download the form, you fill it up and then you send it to your local intreo office and the grand will be issued to you as soon as the grant is processed."

However, the assistant general secretary of the Connect trade union has warned that the grant could be abused.

Brian Nolan told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that he was cautious about the grant, which he welcomed, but he said there were people who paid tax as if they were self-employed, but they were not.

Under the new Covid grant taxi drivers, plumbers and other self-employed workers can apply for the €1,000 grant to help them “get back on their feet” in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The grant will be aimed at those who do not pay commercial rates and therefore did not qualify for the Government’s previously announced restart grant scheme.

Mr Nolan said that “given the times we are in” any assistance was going to be welcomed, but he said there was the risk of abuse of such grants.

“This will be welcomed by genuine cases. I hope it gets into the hands of the right people.”

For many genuine self-employed people it had been difficult to return to work during the pandemic, he said, as “people are not opening their doors to let workmen in". 

“Some are not back up to full speed.”

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