County Kildare Chamber this weekend cautiously welcomed the announcement from Cabinet (2nd May 2020) of additional financial supports for businesses, particularly SMEs, who have been impacted by COVID-19.
The supports announced range from waivers on commercial rates, grant aid, a loan guarantee scheme and supports for businesses who have tax liabilities.
Allan Shine, CEO of County Kildare Chamber, the business organisation in Kildare that represents over 400 member companies across all sectors of business said,
“What is apparent now is the urgency of the creation of a new government that will support business in the country in the midst of the financial crisis that we face. Businesses are closing on a daily basis, employers are facing tough decisions this bank holiday weekend as to if they see themselves being able to reopen over the coming weeks and the supports announced yesterday whilst welcomed do not go far enough.
We expect that 18% of our membership will struggle to reopen. Issues that are of concern include Landlords that will not engage in anyway with their tenants, aged creditors are a huge concern for over 25% of our members and a changing business environment will of course affect many with the way we do business will obviously differ once we emerge from this crisis. Cashflow is drying up, we are facing a crisis that government have not got a handle on. Respected economists here in Ireland and across the world are stating this potentially will be like no other recession the world has ever faced.
We find it incredible that the Taoiseach stated that the next government may not be formed til June whilst then announcing two business measures that require legislation.
The warehousing of tax liability for 1 year and the SME credit guarantee scheme both require legislation and according to Leo Varadkar a government may not be formed til June, we then require a Seanad to debate and pass the legislation before it is put to the floor of the Dail . This legislation may not become law until July at the earliest.
Business needs certainty and this is not been provided by the present government.
Cash flow is drying up for many businesses. Many businesses, especially in the tourism, hospitality and leisure industries see no light at the end of the tunnel.
The Chamber welcome the confirmation that the Exchequer will replace funding lost to Local Government through waivers on rates with central funding. Our Local Authorities are providing essential services during the pandemic and this assurance of continuity of funding will be well received.
The Chamber have also called for the immediate setting up of a SME taskforce. Allan Shine said, “ It has now become very clear that government and the political system at large need private sector influence. 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 a SME taskforce to influence change in Kildare Street. Shine said, “ 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.