Deputy Michael Healy Rae TD has renewed his reminders to the government that it needs to do more to protect small businesses in the wake of the current lock-down.
This sees some businesses shut for a third time in just ten months and is something the Kilgarvan man has described as ‘putting people closer to the bread line than the pandemic end line.’
Cost of Fighting the Pandemic
The Independent TD for Kerry was making his calls following the release the government’s 2020 finances which showed the December returns of tax revenue and spending returning a much lower than expected exchequer deficit of €12.3bn despite the unprecedented amount of money entailed in fighting the pandemic.
Businesses Under Strain
However, Deputy Healy Rae is fearful that smaller family run businesses are coming under strain as some grant supports are aimed for bigger businesses and not ideal for sole traders or self-employed and called for greater imagination in helping smaller businesses.
“It is very important that in any raft of supports that are made available to businesses, that the smaller self-employed outfits, many in the construction business and sole traders cannot be forgotten,” he said.
Failed Businesses as Statistics
“These are the businesses that employ small numbers but do so in every corner of the country and it is important that the government ensure that they too get through this difficult time and I would hate to see them end up on the statistics board as failed businesses when they have done nothing wrong throughout this pandemic.
“In fact, more than most they have followed the guidelines every step of the way,” he continued.
Currently, under calculations prepared for the EU, the government’s budget deficit will likely be €19bn in 2020, or 5.5% of GDP, much lower than in many other parts of Europe and Deputy Healy Rae sees ‘plenty room to help small independent run businesses.’
Ten Year Bond Tapped
“At the moment the Government’s National Treasury Management Agency completed the first sale of the new year to raise €5.5bn in debt by tapping a 10-year bond, at a negative interest of lower than -0.25% and the Government’s debt agency raised €850m through a 2030 bond in November, which was also at a negative interest rate of -0.2%.
Benefits of Borrowing for Less
“Seeing that we are borrowing for less, there should be ample room to protect small business – many of whom have no trouble in sponsoring a local sports team, donating to a school fundraiser or even employing people in their first job,” Deputy Michael concluded.
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