Nearly two thirds of Irish businesses are availing of wage supports through the Government’s Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), according to a survey by small firms group ISME.
The study found that 62 per cent of SMEs were availing of the scheme in July, marking it out as the chief source of liquidity for Covid-impacted businesses.
The survey found 17 per cent of SMEs are availing of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), up 9 per cent from April while 19 per cent of respondents were availing of the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) as a self-employed person, up 3 per cent from April.
On a positive note, it found the number of respondents who believe their business can operate for more than nine months has increased to 68 per cent, up 5 per cent from April.
"This, our eighth Covid report of the pandemic, shows a continued increase in business optimism, with 82 per cent of businesses confident they will survive for six months or more," ISME chief executive Neil Mc Donnell said, noting the number who believe their business will fail is down to 1 per cent.
He said it is significant however that 11 per cent of respondents reported that all their staff remain laid off.
The EWSS, Restart Grants, PUP and CRSS remain the most important business supports, he said.
"Revenue forbearance is also a significant source of working capital. Given the imminent departure of Ulster Bank from the Irish market, it is notable that Bank of Ireland and AIB already account for 82 per cent of respondents," he said.