Chamber News

July Stimulus is last chance to ensure survival of vulnerable businesses

In advance of the announcement of the July Stimulus, which is expected next week, Waterford Chamber is calling on Government to give every support to vulnerable businesses to ensure their chance of survival.

Working with Chambers Ireland, Waterford Chamber engaged with their members on national business surveys and Waterford had the largest response per capita.

According to Gerald Hurley, the recommendations sent to Government this week were very much a representation of the business community in Waterford.

“At this stage it is necessary to protect jobs, prevent businesses from failing, and support the recovery. Representing 40 Chambers, more than 8,000 businesses and with a geographic reach in all major cities, regions and towns, Chambers Ireland calls for Cabinet to use all resources available to reboot the economy.

“Our members have been extremely vocal in the need for supports to continue if they have any chance of sustainability or growth. The measures introduced to date to support businesses to re-open have played a positive part in reducing some of the economic damage. In particular, the introduction of the TWSS has been extremely successful in protecting jobs and incomes, while businesses trade through the pandemic. However, it will be critical that supports like this are continued for vulnerable sectors.

“Our series of surveys and research over the course of lockdown and the early stages of re-opening, show us how deeply COVID-19 has impacted our local economy. Revenue of most businesses is about half of what it usually would be at this time of year. 
The actions Government takes in the coming weeks will determine how many jobs we save and how many businesses will survive the coming months.”

Ahead of the July Stimulus, Chambers Ireland calls on Government to take several far-reaching actions, including the following:

  1. The extension and reform of the Wage Subsidy Scheme for vulnerable sectors. This reform must include allowing vulnerable sectors, many of whom are seasonal, to hire new staff under the Wage Subsidy Scheme.
  2. A 12-month waiver of commercial Rates for impacted businesses, with an accessible mechanism, and commitment to ensure that Local Authorities receive additional central funding to make up for the short-fall.
  3. A new expansive model for grant aid so businesses can tackle the mounting costs of debt and outstanding invoices. The introduction of the “Restart Grant” was a welcome first step in supporting business to re-open, but ultimately did not go far enough. Without a significant intervention from the State, the debt burden will become insurmountable for many, with closures and job losses inevitably following.

“Our asks are not new. These are issues which have been visible since the early days of the crisis and we have consistently called for Government to intervene. Now that we have a new Government, with a new mandate, an expansive, ambitious program of supports must be introduced.

“If Government does not continue to intervene in a meaningful way, with a package totalling billions of euro, then it is quite probable that huge numbers of jobs and job creators will be lost to the economy. If the State intervenes, we have a much better chance of protecting local economies all over the country, not just in Waterford. Without such an intervention, the economic outlook is bleak.”

 

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"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager, South East Region, IDA

 

 

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