July stimulus is ‘last chance’ to save the economy, Chambers Ireland warns

Business lobby group calling for subsidy extension and rates waiver

Taoiseach Michéal Martin arrives for a session of the Dáil at the Convetion Centre Dublin. Chambers Ireland is calling for the Government to go beyond ‘half measures’ to save the economy. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Taoiseach Michéal Martin arrives for a session of the Dáil at the Convetion Centre Dublin. Chambers Ireland is calling for the Government to go beyond ‘half measures’ to save the economy. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

The umbrella group for 40 Irish chambers of commerce has warned the Government that “half measures will no longer cut it” and says the upcoming July stimulus is a “last chance” to prevent huge, long-term economic damage from the impact of coronavirus.

Chambers Ireland, whose members represent 8,000 companies, has called for an extension of the temporary wage subsidy scheme, whereby the State pays up to 85 per cent of the wages of some affected workers to prevent them being laid off. It also wants the scheme rules tweaked to allow businesses that require seasonal workers to hire them under the subsidy scheme.

The organisation has also called for a 12-month waiver of local authority rates and for the Government to step in to make up the shortfall for councils. Chambers Ireland is also seeking an “expansive model” of grants to businesses: “Without a significant intervention from the State, the debt burden will become insurmountable for many, with closures and job losses inevitably following.”

“If Government does not continue to intervene in a meaningful way, with a package totalling billions of euro, then it is quite probable that huge numbers of jobs and job creators will be lost to the economy. If the State intervenes, we have a much better chance of protecting local economies all over the country. Without such an intervention, the economic outlook is bleak,” it said.

Mark Paul