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Eligibility of Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) Extended

  • Businesses operating from a non-rateable premises such as a home office or hot-desk now eligible for help with fixed costs

  • Self-employed working from home, wedding planners, on-course bookmakers, travel counsellors, caterers and photographers with a turnover of €50,000+ among those expected to benefit

  • Micro Enterprise Assistance Scheme also reopened to help smallest businesses

Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has welcomed the decision by his party colleague Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD to extend eligibility for the €60m Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) to include businesses operating from a non-rateable premises like a home business or yard. The Tánaiste also relaunched the Micro Enterprise Assistance Scheme so that Ireland’s smallest businesses, those with a turnover of less than €50,000 can apply for a grant of €1000 to help with fixed costs.

Senator Cummins said “this is something which I have been working on internally with my colleagues Minister Damien English and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar for many months. I have raised it on a number of occasions in the Seanad and I have engaged extensively with Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber of Commerce and affected businesses. I want to sincerely thank them for bringing this issue to my attention and I’m happy we finally have some movement on the matter.

“While various government schemes have been introduced to help as many businesses as possible with their fixed costs such as the CRSS and the SBASC, these only applied to rateable premises. This has caused a great difficulty for certain businesses such as event caterers who do not operate from a fixed premises, rather they operate from multiple premises and still have fixed costs for equipment/transport etc.

“Under the revised scheme those who are self-employed and working from a non-rateable premises, such as their own home for example, can apply for a €4,000 payment to help with fixed costs. While the grant is modest, it is designed to help with energy bills, security, IT systems fees, legal and accounting fees or any other fixed costs that may incur as part of running a business.

Senator Cummins added “The government are also relaunching the Micro Enterprise Assistance Scheme so that our smallest businesses, those with a turnover of less than €50,000 can apply for a grant of €1000. It has been a really tough few months for anyone brave enough to run their own business but thankfully things are looking up now as we approach the summer with greater confidence due to the successful rollout of the vaccine.

The Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) is for businesses with a turnover of €50,000+ which are not eligible for CRSS or other sector specific grants, that are down 75% or more of turnover.

Further details, including the go-live date for Q2, will be announced shortly. Those who applied under Phase 1 are still eligible to apply for a second payment of €4,000 if they continue to meet the criteria. Interested businesses should contact their local authority. Closing date for Phase 2 applications will be 21 July.

The Micro Enterprise Assistance Scheme is for companies facing particular hardship and that do not qualify for other government schemes. It will provide a grant of up to €1,000 to businesses with previous turnover of less than €50,000 that meet the other criteria for SBASC.

This scheme is in addition to the comprehensive package the Government has put in place to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates.

The Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD said “At the heart of Ireland’s jobs-led revival will be the small business community who made major sacrifices during the pandemic to sustain their operations. For many negatively impacted upon by Covid, their efforts are firmly fixed on trading successfully once again as the economy continues to reopen and the remaining public health restrictions are eased.

This second round of SBASC will reach a further cohort of businesses and will contribute towards some of the ongoing fixed costs associated with maintaining operations. I am optimistic that small firms can return to viability and contribute positively to the economic recovery.”

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