Retail Ireland today welcomed the range of important measures to support businesses and employment in Budget 2021.
However, the Ibec group that represents the Irish retail sector said that keeping retail open and trading over the coming months was now an immediate priority.
In a statement, Arnold Dillon, director Retail Ireland, said: “Many retail businesses continue to rely on government employment and liquidity supports. The extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme beyond March will help viable businesses and underpin many thousands of retail jobs, although the eligibility criteria remains too rigid. The extension of the commercial rates waiver, the debt warehousing scheme and a new €30 million fund targeted at SMEs, will also make a big difference to many businesses."
“The range of supports available to companies impacted by COVID provide significant relief, but the focus must be on keeping retail open. Many costly disputes on commercial rents remain unresolved, another lockdown would only exacerbate this and many other problems," he added.
Dillon noted that retail can make a major positive contribution to the recovery, but COVID and Brexit are unprecedented challenges.
"Keeping the sector open and trading is the best way to avoid further job losses and business failures. We need to manage the threat of Covid through targeted supports and restrictions, while also sustaining economic activity and jobs,” he concluded.
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