What is Cork City Council doing to help businesses? #COVID-19?

20 March 2020
By Elaine Murphy

As a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cork City Council will be deferring rates payments for three months in line with the Government’s announcement made earlier today.

Rates payments will be deferred until the end of May for businesses most impacted by Covid-19, primarily the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors.

Cork City Council Director of Finance, John Hallahan said: “Cork City Council is acutely aware of the very real and very sudden challenges being faced by business, big and small, in our city and country. We will continue to work with our ratepayers on a case by case basis and we are asking businesses to contact us. Our  Strategic Economic Development (SED) Directorate and Local Enterprise Office (LEO) also want business owners to know that there are supports in place to further help them with the challenges they are suddenly facing because of the coronavirus”.

Rates makeup 43% per cent of Cork City council’s budget and are critical for the continued delivery of services such as fire and emergency response, flooding response, waste management, street cleaning, and the maintenance of parks and amenities.

A Covid-19 Response Group was established by senior management in Cork City Council over three weeks ago and meets daily to monitor and assess the impact on our residents and businesses of the rapidly changing situation.

A number of supports are in place to address challenges facing businesses as a result of COVID-19.  The main supports are outlined below.  For further queries check out the relevant websites or contact Cork City Local Enterprise Office at 021-4961828 or email info@leo.corkcity.ie

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

  • Short Time Work Support – is available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is an income support payment for employees who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week and is intended to help employers during periods of temporary difficulty.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment – from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will be available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost employment due to a downturn in economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment has a one–page application form and will be paid for a period of 6 weeks at a flat rate payment of €203 per week for jobseekers.

The Local Enterprise Office

  • Clients who are repaying a refundable portion of their priming or business expansion grants to the LEO are being offered an option to defer payments for a 3 month period should they encounter financial difficulties;
  • Cork City LEO is currently accepting applications for the Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Business Loan.  The cap for support from Microfinance Ireland has been increased from €25,000 to €50,000.  The loan repayments freeze and no interest will apply for the first six months;
  • Mentoring is available for businesses facing cash-flow and HR issues;
  • Strategic Consultancy Grant – for SME’s to assist the company development of a strategic response plan;
  • Vouchers for business continuity, preparedness, innovation and productivity will be available through Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area;
  • It is anticipated that additional mentoring supports will available through the Local Enterprise Office.

Enterprise Ireland

  • €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme – available through Enterprise Ireland for viable but vulnerable firms that need to restructure or transform their businesses, details of these supports are being finalised.
  • €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital Scheme – for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19
  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme is a government-supported product from the banks for small and medium businesses who have difficulty borrowing from their bank. Businesses can apply for loans of up to €1 million at AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank. Loans can be for terms of up to 7 years, we are awaiting details.
  • Finance in Focus – “Finance in focus” grant available to Enterprise Ireland clients to support financial planning.

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