Budget 2021 will support the economy to address the immediate challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, a hard Brexit and help businesses to get back on their feet, according to Waterford's Senator John Cummins.
Senator Cummins says the Budget 2021 package of nearly €18 billion is significant and the size of this intervention is unprecedented in the history of the Irish State.
“The measures contained in Budget 2021 demonstrates the Government’s commitment to supporting businesses in Waterford to get back on their feet. We saw before how employment creation was key to our economic and societal recovery, and it is very positive that prioritisation is being given to this area once again," Senator Cummins says.
“Funding for the Covid Enterprise Support Grant for the self-employed has been doubled from €12 million to €24 million to help small and medium businesses. They are the lifeblood of our economy and it is vital that we continue to support them in their hour of need.
“A new Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will support businesses in restricted sectors or based in locations that due to Covid-19 restrictions are prohibited from operating, closed on a temporary, county or regional basis, or operating at a turnover of 20% or less compared with 2019.
“The CRSS will supplement the existing Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme and I was pleased to hear Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe confirm there will be no cliff edge for that scheme, which is so crucial to businesses and workers in Waterford who are relying on it. It will continue as required until the end of 2021.
“Thanks to Budget 2021, self-employed workers will be able to earn up to €480 a month gross without affecting their Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). This will be of particular benefit people employed in the arts community and the taxi industry, for example, meaning they will no longer be prohibited from taking some work in order to keep their PUP," Senator Cummins says.
He says the Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme is to be made available to the self-employed who intend to resume their business but can only do so intermittently or on a limited or reduced basis when they leave the PUP.
“In a significant measure for self-employed people, the Earned Income Tax Credit will be increased to €1,650. This tax credit for job creators was introduced by the previous Government and it is fantastic that Budget 2021 will now see this equalised with the PAYE Tax Credit to ensure fair play for the self-employed," he says.
Senator Cummins says the reduced VAT rate will assist the tourism and hospitality sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. The rate will reduce from 13.5% to 9% with effect from November 1 and will be of particular benefit to this sector throughout 2021, he says.
“Other measures to benefit job creation include the extension of the Knowledge Development Box relief for a further two years until December 2022 and an amendment to CGT Entrepreneurs Relief removing the 5% holding requirement at the time of disposal, meaning a greater ability for a person to expand their business without worrying about losing this relief," he says.
Senator Cummins says all of the measures in Budget 2021 are designed to support those who create jobs. “There is much uncertainty ahead due to Covid-19. €3.4 billion has been allocated for a Recovery Fund to be used during the course of 2021 to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, should the public health situation worsen," he says.
“This country has been rescued from economic recession before and I have no doubt that together we can do it again," Senator Cummins adds.