There is a distinct and very real risk that without the implementation of the 5 suggested measures in the Retail Excellence Ireland Recovery Plan, up to 110,000 jobs could be lost permanently in the Irish retail industry.
That's according to Retail Excellence Ireland who have said that such losses would cost the State an estimated €2.2 billion in a full year in increased social welfare payments and would cost the State an estimated €800 million per annum in employee taxes foregone.
In addition, further significant damage would be done to the economic and social fabric of every town and city in the country. Ireland is in a period of unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented official policy response. Now is the time to be brave. There will be significant costs involved, but the social and economic benefits will far outweigh the costs.
The Irish retail industry believes that it will have a key role to play in re-building the Irish economy, but it needs a strong official policy response.
Retail Excellence Ireland, on behalf of our 2,100 member companies are urgently calling on Government to implement 5 key measures:
Measure 1: Establishment of a Government backed commercial rent grant scheme equal to 60% of the rent and service charge cost during the emergency period. The cost of this measure to the Exchequer is estimated at €330 million for a 3-month period.
Measure 2: The permanent cancellation of all Local Authority rates for all impacted businesses for a 12-month period. The cost to the Exchequer of this measure is estimated at €730 million for a 12-month cancelation.
Measure 3: The implementation of liquidity supports for retail businesses and speedy and simplified implementation of these supports by the banks.
Measure 4: The distribution of a gift card of €500 to all Irish households which can only be spent in bricks and mortar stores and will be zero balanced after a fixed window of time. The estimated cost to the State would be €850 million.
Measure 5: The implementation of a back to work scheme such as a “Jobs Bridge” type initiative to re-employ the highest possible proportion of our retail industry colleagues who have been temporarily laid off.