Almost €15m has been paid out in grant funding under the Restart Grant Schemes to over 2,300 businesses in County Donegal to date.
Over 3,000 individual grant payments have been processed since the initiative was introduced in May 2020.
The grants are provided as a contribution towards the cost of reopening or keeping a business operational and reconnecting with employees and customers. Grants are calculated on the basis of a business’s Commercial Rates liability for 2019. However, it is important to note that businesses in the following categories are, subject to other eligibility criteria, eligible to apply for a grant:
· Businesses that are in arrears of Commercial Rates
· Businesses that did not receive a Commercial Rates bill for 2019
· Businesses occupying premises yet to be valued for Commercial Rates
The ‘Business Restart Grant Plus’ scheme is currently open for applications. The deadline for receipt of applications is 31st October 2020. The maximum grant available is €25,000 and the minimum payment is €4,000, based on a business’s 2019 Commercial Rates bill. Customers who received the original Restart Grant are eligible to apply for a second grant to a total combined value of the revised minimum and maximum grant levels.
Any commercial trading entity operating from a commercially rateable business can apply, subject to meeting the following conditions;
· Have 0-250 employees
· Have a turnover of less than €100k per employee to maximum of €25m
· Have suffered a 25%+ loss in turnover between 1st April and 30th June 2020
· Have been trading prior to the COVID-19 emergency
· Commit to remain open or reopen if closed; and
· Intend to retain employees that are on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS)
Donegal County Council has undertaken a number of public awareness campaigns encouraging eligible businesses to apply for a Restart Grant. This has included public service announcements on radio and on social media. Also, written correspondence issued to all Commercial Rates customers during September advising them of the scheme. It is essential that businesses that have not yet applied for a ‘Restart Grant Plus’ do so in advance of the deadline of 31st October.
As a result of the introduction of Level 3 restrictions (National Framework for Living with Covid-19), additional grant supports (‘Top-Ups’) have been introduced for businesses in Donegal. The Top-Up grants are based on the amount of the grant paid to a business under the ‘Restart Grant Plus’ scheme. Grants will be calculated and paid automatically; there is no requirement to submit an application.
An additional Top-Up grant of 40% is payable to businesses in Donegal that apply for and are eligible for the ‘Restart Grant Plus’.
A further additional 40% (total 80%) is payable to ‘wet pubs’ in Donegal that apply for and are eligible for the ‘Restart Grant Plus’.
Some of these grants have already been paid out to businesses. Many more are being processed. There is a significant amount of work associated with this initiative and the Council appreciates the patience shown by customers to date. Every effort is being made to distribute this grant funding as early as possible.
Rates Waiver Scheme 2020
The government has announced that the Commercial Rates Waiver for 2020 has been extended to cover the nine-month period up to 31st December 2020.
Most businesses in Donegal will be eligible for this waiver, which will be applied automatically to their accounts before year-end. Correspondence will begin issuing to businesses in this regard during October and November 2020.
Businesses will be eligible for a refund (or a credit carried forward) if the effect of applying the waiver creates a credit on their Commercial Rates account.
The government has confirmed a package totaling €900m to compensate local authorities for Commercial Rates income lost as a result of applying the waiver in 2020.
Small Business Rebate
Donegal County Council’s ‘Small Business Rebate’ scheme allows businesses to avail of a 7.5% reduction (up to a maximum of €375) if their Commercial Rates liability is discharged in full during the year. The reduction is provided by way of a credit on their Commercial Rates account for the following year.
In 2019, a total of 2,273 customers availed of the Small Business Rebate at a total cost to Donegal County Council of €443,654.
For 2020, the deadline for qualification under Donegal County Council’s Small Business Grant Rebate has been extended from 31st October to 30th November 2020. This should increase the number of businesses eligible to receive the Small Business Rebate in 2020.
Each of the Councils customers will receive a letter confirming the balance owing if/and when the Rates Waiver has been applied in the coming weeks. If you discharge the balance owing by November 30th you will qualify for this rebate of 7.5% (to a maximum of €375).