The extension of a range of supports for businesses and income tax changes for the self-employed will help fuel economic recovery after the challenge of Covid-19, two Fine Gael Senators have said.
Garret Ahearn, the party’s Seanad spokesperson on Enterprise and Trade, said the Government is continuing to recognise the difficulties facing businesses impacted by the pandemic, and the measures contained in Budget 2022 will give them a further lifeline, as well as helping individuals with the daily pressures of cost of living increases.
Senator Ahearn said: “Businesses, particularly SMEs, are the life blood of our economy and I am so pleased that Budget 2022 contains a range of measures which will continue to support them to get back on their feet after the pandemic.
“The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, the single biggest measure in the Budget, will be extended to April 30th, 2022, six months after the lifting of most public health restrictions.
“There will be no change to EWSS for the months of October and November, and businesses availing of the EWSS on December 31st 2021 will continue to be supported until April 30th, 2022. Across December, January and February, a two-rate structure of €151.50 and €203 will then apply.
“For March and April 2022, a flat rate subsidy of €100 will be put in place. The reduced rate of Employers’ PRSI will no longer apply for these two months, and the scheme will close to new employers from the January 1st 2022.
“For smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, the Employment Investment Incentive Scheme will be extended for a further three years and will be opened up to a wider range of companies.
“The Government also intends to commit a further €30 million to the Innovation Equity Fund and this will be matched by €30 million from the European Investment Fund, subject to approval. It is expected to be launched in early 2022 and will increase the availability of funding for Irish SMEs.
“The Section 486C corporation tax relief for certain start-up companies will also be extended to the end of 2026 to support employment and businesses.
Senator Ahearn said income tax measures to the value of almost €520 million in the Budget will help ease cost of living pressures on individuals and families.
“There will be an increase in the standard rate cut-off by €1,500, in addition to an increase in each of the personal tax credits, employee tax credit and earned income credit by €50 for the self-employed.
“These changes will benefit everyone who pays income tax – approximately 1.86 million people. Over 39,000 fewer people on incomes around the national average will now pay the higher rate of tax.”
Emer Currie, Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Work/Life Balance, also welcomed a package to support remote working in Budget 2022.
Senator Currie said: “Remote and blended working arrangements are now a reality in our society and can contribute to giving people a better work/life balance, provided it is done in the right way. I am therefore pleased that this is now further recognised in our taxation policy.
“An income tax deduction amounting to 30 per cent of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband incurred while working from home will now be formalised in legislation through the Finance Bill. This measure is expected to benefit up to half a million people.
“Meanwhile work is continuing by Government to put in place the necessary laws, codes of practice and incentives to make remote work a more viable option in the long-term.”