Government writes to Carlow's local authority about a restart fund for local businesses

Issues for local businesses with regard to exiting the Covid-19 lockdown

The Government has written to Carlow's local authority about a restart fund for local businesses and other issues with regard to exiting the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The Department of Housing and Local Government has written to every County Council chief executive and Finance Director.

The letter explains compensation for the rates waiver, as well as a restart fund for businesses. 

It addresses three issues:

3 month waiver of rates for certain businesses 

In light of developments since that circular issued, Government has decided that commercial rates, for a 3 month period beginning on 27 March 2020, for all businesses that have been forced to close due to public health requirements, will be waived.

The Exchequer will provide €260m to fully fund the cost of this initiative.

The position post-27 June 2020 will be considered as part of a wider review of options to support enterprises and employment, and associated local authority funding implications, once the unwinding of public health restrictions has advanced. 

Restart Fund 

Government has also decided to provide €250m for the establishment of a Restart Fund targeting micro and small businesses that have suffered a dramatic loss of turnover due to the COVID-19 restrictions and which require assistance in reconnecting with the marketplace.

It is intended that this funding would be a recognition for those businesses who have maintained engagement with their staff and would be linked to ongoing employment of those staff.

In view of the role that commercial rates can play in post-COVID economic recovery and the impact on local authority revenues, it was agreed that this measure should be implemented via a system of Commercial Rates rebates/waivers.

Businesses will receive no more than the equivalent of their 2019 Rates bill, capped at €10,000 per business.

The technical details of the scheme, and how the Fund will be administered, will be developed in the coming weeks by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in consultation with the CCMA. 

Next steps 

The Department is currently considering the implementation arrangements in relation to the above initiatives and will be in further contact with local authorities in this regard shortly. 

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