Business Supports/Rates Deferral
NEW HELPLINE FOR KERRY BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 EMERGENCY
A new inter-agency group has been established in Kerry to provide support and advice to businesses during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The group is today launching a new business support helpline which will be available to anyone in the retail, tourism, manufacturing, constructions, services and other industries as a source of information and advice.
Led by Kerry County Council’s Economic Development Unit and Local Enterprise Office, the inter-agency group also includes representatives of Fáilte Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Kerry Education and Training Board, Udarás na Gaeltachta and the local development companies, South Kerry Development Partnership, IRD Duhallow and North East and West Kerry Development.
The new helpline is now available on 1800 807 102 and will be available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
Director of Services for Economic Development with Kerry County Council, Mike Scannell, said the new committee recognises that the Kerry economy is being severely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and will work with businesses in Kerry through the current challenges.
‘Further to the government’s National Action Plan on COVID-19, Kerry County Council initiated a series of meetings with key stakeholders and business leaders in the county. The new inter-agency group which has followed from that is focussed on supporting businesses through the current climate and also beginning to chart how the business sector can recover when restrictions ease and the worst of this emergency is behind us.
‘We want to ensure that the correct and most appropriate information is available to businesses and will coordinate the assignment of the most appropriate sources of support to business in need of assistance. So this new helpline is an important first step and our group will be looking at other meaningful and practical steps we can lead out on to help the economic recovery in Kerry over the coming months and years,’ he said.
Local Enterprise Office Supports
The following supports for businesses have been introduced recently and are available through the Kerry County Council Local Enterprise Office. Click here:
- Business Continuity Voucher – a national scheme which provides a voucher to the value of €2,500 for external consultancy supports, e.g. planning for the future. The Local Enterprise Office is dealing with businesses and working through issues or problems they have. Where necessary a mentor is appointed to work with the business. All business types can apply for this voucher. 37 applications have been received to date and they are being assessed.
- COVID-19 Business Loan Scheme administered through Micro-Finance Ireland. The Local Enterprise Office has been working with MFI over the last number of years. The loan limit has increased from €25,000 to €50,000 with a 4.5% interest rate. The Local Enterprise Office assigns a mentor to work with businesses in preparing their loan applications for assessment by MFI. The lending contract is between the business and MFI. Seven applications have been dealt with over the last week.
- The Trading Online Voucher Scheme has been amended. In this regard the co-funding requirement has been reduced from 50% to 10%. The voucher amount remains at €2,500. Previous applicants can reapply again. A webinar for businesses was held on 8 April 2020. A further webinar is being planned.
Additionally, the training programme of the Local Enterprise Office has been converted to online training, short term programmes on issues such as cash flow and business viability, etc. The Local Enterprise Office (https://www.localenterprise.ie/Kerry)is providing a lot of support to businesses, who are seeking assurances and advice regarding future planning in terms of viability.
Contact the Kerry Local Enterprise Office on 066 7183522 or LEO@countykerry.ie
Deferral of rates payments
The Government has decided that local authorities should defer rates payments due from businesses most immediately impacted by COVID-19, primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, for at least a three-month period.
Ratepayers who have had to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations during the COVID-19 response period are advised to contact their local authority in relation to any rates payments falling due in the period to end June.
Kerry County Council will continue to work with ratepayers who have any queries or concerns during these unprecedented and challenging times and will respond to queries on a daily basis. Contact Kerry County Council’s Revenue office by email:firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 066 7162100
Economic recovery in Kerry
A dedicated team has been established to assist in dealing with the impact of the COVID 19 crisis on the Kerry economy. The economic recovery locally will require a sustained collaborative effort over a prolonged period and the challenges and requirements will evolve both with national government initiatives and local co-ordinated responses.
Locally, this is being led by Kerry County Council and involving all the support agencies of the state at local and regional level including the IDA , Enterprise Ireland, Local Development Companies, Udarás na Gaeltachta, Fáilte Ireland, the higher education sector across the region, and also the wider business community including the various tourism groupings, Kerry Scitech, Chamber Alliances and the wider business sector in the county. The coordination of this effort will require a great deal of work to ensure that agreed messages emanate from the county and appropriate and timely plans are in place and are realistic and actionable when the time is right.
The focus in the coming period will include:
- The articulation of the economic impact of COVID 19 on the county, including scenario planning for a number of possible alternative levels of continuing disruption to economic activity over a prolonged period
- The development of a co-ordinated response to the immediate needs of the business community, including the range of supports that are currently in place and will become available – including financial, training, mentoring, and other associated structural supports.
- The development of a number of initiatives that will support economic recovery at county level and achieving support across the business community for these initiatives – including short-term and longer-term marketing strategies, positioning the county to the fore in the emerging post-COVID-19 landscape.
- Sectoral engagement with the business community – dealing with the particular requirements of individual sectors including tourism, retail, construction and the wider business community, including the specific needs of particular locations including the various innovation hubs in the county.