16 Aug 2022

Sinn Féin's Clarke urges Longford firms to avail of Covid assistance scheme

Longford Westmeath Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke  says Commission must address Defence Forces working conditions and poor pay

Longford Westmeath Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke

Government bosses are being urged to work in tandem with local authority officials to encourage Longford businesses to avail of a State backed Covid restart scheme before its deadline closes next month.

Sinn Féin Longford-Westmeath TD Sorca Clarke issued the call for ahead of the anticipated cessation of the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) next month.

She said data provided to her shows that only 34 grants have been applied for in Longford with 60 being recorded in Westmeath.

“The Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) was established to provided much needed funding to many businesses who had been excluded from other Government schemes such as the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), the Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS), the Fáilte Ireland Business Continuity grant, and other direct sectoral grant schemes," she said.

“The SBASC scheme provided grants of €4,000 to businesses working from non-rateable premises and €1,000 to businesses with a turnover between €20,000 and €49,999. While it was a small scheme, it was much needed and appreciated by small businesses. 

“However, data provided to Sinn Féin by the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment has revealed that only 3,079 grants applications have been made to date across the whole of the state. Indeed, to date, just over €12 million in grants have been applied for despite the scheme being due to close in less than a month. 

“The situation is mirrored in Longford and Westmeath where only 94 businesses have applied for grants worth a value of €376,000. 

“The Department have relayed that not all applications will be approved, so in all likelihood the number of applications which turn into approved grants in Longford and Westmeath will be less than 94, unless the Government and Local Authorities step in now. 

“With such a low level of applications it is clear that the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, the Government, and Local Authorities, need to seek out and encourage applications from small businesses for the SBASC scheme.  

“Given the closing date for the scheme is 21 July, the Government must work to ensure as many small businesses as possible know about the scheme and submit grant applications. 

“If there are any small businesses in Longford and Westmeath who are looking for additional details about the SBASC scheme, please do not hesitate to get in touch and both I and my offices will do all we can to help.” 

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