The Family Business Network (FBN) Ireland has today urged the Government to introduce a series of measures in its COVID-19 economic package to safeguard family businesses as they confront the growing economic fallout of the current crisis.
FBN Ireland proposals include the introduction of an ‘Adaptability Grant’ for small businesses that continue to trade by adapting their business model for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. A grant of up to €10,000 would ensure cafes and restaurants move to an online delivery service.
Ireland’s leading representative body for family-owned businesses also called on Government to commit to unlimited liquidity assistance to small companies that are in need. This could be achieved by underwriting interest-free loans from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SCBI) and the pillar banks.
Other measures required to protect family businesses through the current uncertainty include:
· Implementing a scheme akin to the UK’s where the Government will pay 80% of the salary for staff who are kept on by their employer
· Waiving local authority rates for three month
· Deferring water charges for the foreseeable future
· Temporarily reducing the lower rate of employer PRSI
· Reduce the VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sector
Speaking this week, Executive Director at FBN Ireland, John McGrane said, "With every hour comes the news of another family business closing its door and laying off valued employees. As the backbone of the local community providing 720,000 jobs, the closure of family businesses will have a devasting impact on the rural economy in particular."
He added, "A bold response from the state is now needed. It is now critical that government use its COVID-19 economic package to keep remaining family firms open for business – many of whom provide a link to the most vulnerable in our society."