Waterford Greens call for more support for business amid Covid-19
As State looks towards post-Covid-19 recovery, Greens say aid to business is vital. Green Party TD for Waterford, Marc Ó Cathasaigh and Green Party Councillor Jody Power are calling for a six-month write-off for small independent retailers, SMEs and other small businesses to help the economic recovery as Ireland starts to look at post Covid-19 recovery.
The Green TD and Councillor say that Central Government should make up the loss of revenue to local councils so that they can maintain essential services but that a rates write-off was an essential minimum ask for local business. They have also said that Government should establish a mandatory arbitration system to mediate between landlords and tenants so that a fair system is in place to help both landlords and tenants are supported fairly in getting out of this crisis.
"We are of the view that while a six month rate write-off, won’t in itself help many businesses to get back on their feet, we do feel it will send out an important message that we are in this together and together we will emerge," said Cllr Power.
Green Party Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh said that this was the ask of Retail Ireland and that having attended an IBEC online briefing for Oireachtas members, he was made aware of the immense challenges faced by small and medium sized enterprises as the State emerges from the pandemic.
"A rates write off could be financed by central government so that local authorities are not out of pocket and can maintain services. In our Oireachtas members’ briefing with CEO Michael Walsh this week, we were advised that the shortfall to local government will be in the order of millions of euros, and Waterford Council will not be able to maintain its level of service provision unless that hole is plugged from the central exchequer.
"We are mindful that not all business will be adversely affected - for instance, supermarkets are benefitting from the crisis - so a scheme would have to be designed based on loss of income or trade of a business."
"Furthermore, we need an independent arbitration process so that landlords and tenants can work out a fair way of dealing with the lost months of trading," said Deputy Ó Cathasaigh.
He said that much greater financial supports are available to business in other countries such as cash grants, liquidity measures and interest free loans.
"Money has never been cheaper, we should use every mechanism at our disposal; EU and State Aid to ensure that our valuable SMEs and small retailers can emerge and thrive once again."