Laois Fine Gael councillor says his party will get country through Covid and Brexit

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Fine Gael councillor says his party will get country through Covid and Brexit

Cllr Conor Bergin with Deputy Charlie Flanagan.

Budget 2021 will support the economy to address the immediate challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and a hard Brexit and get Ireland out of recession again, a Fine Gael Councillor has said.

Cllr Conor Bergin is Leas-Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council.

“Budget 2021 is a significant package of nearly €18 billion. The size of this intervention is unprecedented in the history of the Irish State. As during the last economic crisis in this country, Fine Gael in Government is supporting businesses in Laois to get back on their feet. We saw before how employment creation was key to our economic and societal recovery and we will prioritise that once again. 

“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. 

“Fine Gael in Government worked hard to get this country out of economic recession once before and make no mistake about it, we will do so again," he said.

Cllr Bergin lists various supports announced for businesses. 

“Funding for the Covid-Enterprise Support Grant for the self-employed is doubled from €12 million to €24 million to help small and medium businesses. They are the lifeblood of our economy and we will 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 minimum no turnover. 

“The CRSS will supplement the existing Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme and I was pleased to hear Minister Donohoe confirm there will be no cliff edge for that scheme, which is so crucial to the businesses and workers in Laois relying on it. It will continue into next year.

“Thanks to Budget 2021, self-employed workers will be able to earn up to €480 a month gross without affecting their PUP payment. This will benefit people 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.

“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 payment.

“In a significant measure for self-employed people, we are increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1,650. Fine Gael introduced this tax credit for job creators and we have worked tirelessly to equalise it with the PAYE Tax Credit to ensure fair play for the self-employed. Budget 2021 achieves this. 

“A reduced VAT rate will assist the hospitality and tourism sector which has been hit so hard by the pandemic. The rate will reduce from 13 ½ pc to 9pc with effect from 1 November.

“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 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.

“All of these measures are designed to support those who create jobs as we seek to ensure a full economic recovery," he said.