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Cabinet approves €250m Restart Grant fund

The details of a new €250m grant scheme to help small firms with reopening after the Covid-19 restrictions have lifted were approved by the cabinet today.

The Restart Grant will give direct aid of between €2,000 and €10,000 to firms, with the payment based on commercial rates bill from 2019.

The scheme will be open to small businesses with a turnover of under €5m and employing 50 people or less.

The companies have to have been closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover up to June 30.

It opens for applications on May 22 and will be administered through local authorities.

"The Restart Grant is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet," said Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys.

"The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety."

However, small business association ISME has accused the Government of retreating into a "cocoon with big business, big unions, the civil service and the semi-state sector."

It said its calls for more liquidity for small firms has had no meaningful response from Government and the measures announced to date are inadequate.

"We have made it consistently clear that businesses need grant assistance, not increased debt," it said.

"But where debt is provided, it needs to be on the most favourable terms, and at low, zero, or indeed, negative rates."

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